Ross Taylor opens up in detail about racism in New Zealand Cricket

'It's easier to develop a thick skin and let it slide, but is that the right thing to do,' questioned Ross Taylor.

Ross Taylor
Ross Taylor. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

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Known as the ‘nice guys’ of cricket, New Zealand cricketers have hardly been in any controversy in the recent past. Things changed when Ross Taylor mentioned about some players and people in the management being racist to him during his playing days. In his new autobiography Ross Taylor Black & White, Taylor mentioned how he became a subject of racial abuse in the team.

Taylor, who has Samoan heritage from his mother’s side, revealed that even though the comments were not intentional, they bothered him. He mentioned cricket to be a ‘white sport’ in New Zealand, and he was often made feel brown among all the white players. 

“Cricket in New Zealand is a pretty white sport. For much of my career, I’ve been an anomaly, a brown face in a vanilla line-up,” Taylor wrote in an extract published by the New Zealand Herald. 

Taylor also spoke about racist banters in the dressing room. He said that when a white person makes a joke, they don’t understand the significance of it and often consider it to be okay. He also said that no one corrects them in the dressing room as well.

“In many ways, dressing-room banter is the barometer. A teammate used to tell me, ‘You’re half a good guy, Ross, but which half is good? You don’t know what I’m referring to.’ I was pretty sure I did. Other players also had to put up with comments that dwelt on their ethnicity.”

“In all probability, a Pakeha [white New Zealander] listening to those sorts of comments would think, “Oh, that’s okay, it’s just a bit of banter.” But he’s hearing it as a white person, and it’s not directed at people like him. So, there’s no pushback; no one corrects them. Then the onus falls on the targets”, said the Kiwi legend.

It’s easier to develop a thick skin and let it slide, but is that the right thing to do: Ross Taylor

 Taylor, who scored more than 18,000 runs for New Zealand also mentioned that he was in a conflict with himself. He wanted to come out and speak to people about this but was always afraid of doing so. He believed that everyone would think that he is playing the race-card and not able to take light-hearted banter.

“You wonder if you should pull them up but worry that you’ll create a bigger problem or be accused of playing the race card by inflating harmless banter into racism,” the 38-year-old said. It’s easier to develop a thick skin and let it slide, but is that the right thing to do?”, he asked.

A spokesperson from New Zealand cricket has said that the board will reach out to him in due course. He said that people from the board will meet him to discuss the matter.