NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Nov. 19, 2020: A legendary West Indian cricketer cried when speaking about racism this week.
Twenty minutes into an interview with the Guardian, West Indies legend, Michael Holding, broke down when speaking about his experience with racism.
“This is something I’ve had inside of me for years,” he was quoted as saying. “There are times when I’m in certain environments, around certain people, and they’ll do and say certain things, and I might grin, because I don’t want them to realize how upset I am about what they have said, but inside I am grimacing. I just told myself: ‘I won’t have to put up with this when I go home.’ So I internalized it all and moved on.”
That all changed this summer. “The killing of George Floyd changed everything.” When his producer at Sky asked him whether he would talk about BLM on air, Holding agreed. “Because it was the right time. Things were happening, you could see people getting involved. More and more people were awakening to what was going on. Especially younger people.”
For the first time in his life, it felt as though something could change, that he, in his own small way, could help it happen. So he spoke up. “This is something I’ve had inside of me for years, for years and years, and as time has gone you try and get a thicker and thicker skin, but when someone gives you an opportunity to reveal it, you reveal it.” “I’m sorry. I’m getting emotional thinking about it now,” the 66-year-old said.
In July, Holding opened Sky’s coverage of England’s Test series against West Indies with a powerful monologue about the Black Lives Matter movement.
“This is a humanitarian movement and anyone who cannot see that has a problem,” he said of the #BLM movement. “Anyone who cannot see that is a part of the problem. I have no business with the politics of Black Lives Matter, I’m talking about the principles of it.”
Holding has been appointed patron of the MCC Foundation, the charitable arm of the Marylebone Cricket Club, custodians of the game’s laws, and was created with the aim of enhancing lives through cricket.
Those principles are straightforward he said: “Give everyone the same opportunity. Give everyone the same justice. Give everyone the same rights.”
Holding said he was “thrilled” by the opportunity to join the MCC Foundation. “I am thrilled to support the MCC Foundation and its work to make cricket a game that champions respect and equality for all,” he said. “Cricket has the power to heal divided communities, give hope in the most desperate of circumstances, and transform lives. There is much pain and prejudice in our world, but the foundation is empowering and inspiring young people through cricket, so that they may build a brighter future.”