THE DA’s decision to join SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) and SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) in pushing for the reinstatement of David Teeger as the South African Under-19 cricket squad captain, has been labelled a racist defence of white privilege in sport.

So said Western Cape MPL, Khalid Sayed, according to a report in IOL.

Sayed hailed Juan James, Teeger’s replacement as captain from a club with a legacy of non-racial sport participation, and said he should be supported.

He said, ‘Further than just wanting to defend Teeger, they also do not want to see a person from a club set in non-racial cricketing traditions to come through because products of those clubs are deemed by these elements in society to be incompetent’.

Brett Herron of the Good Party (irony unintended) said it was disgraceful that the DA did not support James.

Sayed and Herron display the perfect conjunction of anti-Semitism and the ideology of woke victimhood. Accusations of not specifically coming out in support of James are a classic straw man tactic. The stance of the Jewish bodies and the DA in supporting Teeger in no way reflects ill on James. Most South Africans would not think that James wouldn’t be a worthy captain and a competent cricketer: this has nothing to do with James.

It has to do with the cowardice of the CSA in the face of political interference and anti-Semitism by the government, and unrelenting pressure from the CSA. Let’s be frank, the outrage from CSA and others over what Teeger said, was itself outrageous. Groups and individuals that hold CSA’s views on Teeger’s comments were showing faux outrage.

There is no denying that they were ‘offended’, but Teeger has every right to support Israel, whether these intolerant groups accept that or not. Further, he said nothing about causing any harm to Palestinians and certainly didn’t utter the uncontrovertibly genocidal call in ‘From the river to the sea’ and worse, that have been shouted and even screamed in public against Jews.

Treated shabbily

Teeger was treated unutterably shabbily by people who ought to know better and whose behaviour was ultimately of the basest kind. Let’s be frank, in the intolerant climate of the past few years, the fact that a religious Jewish boy could rise to the position of head boy in a multiracial school and then be appointed captain of the U19s suggests enormous leadership qualities. He was appointed on merit.

If Sayed and Herron were compassionate, they would have supported Teeger, irrespective of their opposing viewpoint. Perhaps they know nothing about Teeger’s background, nor anything of the details of Advocate Wim Trengove SC’s finding that Teeger neither contravened CSA’s Code of Conduct nor the Constitution.

Trengove said: ‘Mr Teeger expressed views which are very offensive to some. But they are also views shared by others. Even if they could be said to be those of a minority, they cannot be said to be ‘unbecoming or detrimental conduct’.’

To Khaled and Herron there is nothing else to be said. It seems highly unlikely that one or both would not have been as outraged as the SAZF, SAJBD, and DA if a Muslim cricketer had been in Teeger’s position for something he said about the Palestinians.

It is unbecoming to see high profile South Africans failing to uphold the right to free speech which they use with abandon. It’s unbecoming to see Sayed’s unalloyed racism coming out with that disgraceful woke trope of ‘white privilege’ while knowing nothing about Teeger, or acknowledging that almost all, if not all black professional cricket players had to come through elite institutions to reach the zenith of the game.

Social engineering

The CSA’s social engineering through a rigid quota system at provincial level puts enormous pressure on talented black players to prove that they are there on merit, not to fulfil some racial wet dream of the Diversity Equity and Inclusivity (DEI) adherents in the country.

At the end, the worst aspect of Sayed’s and Herron’s comments is a display of a real lack of humanity and understanding: the failure to understand that 19-year-old professional cricketers are still boys and to forgive them for not yet having the experience and maturity to meet the exacting standards of the adult professionals. Sympathy has to go out to James: he has been thrust into an unenviable position because the adults behaved like toddlers.

Shame on them for being so unforgiving, and for forgetting that they too were once 19-year-old boys.

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Rants professionally to rail against the illiberalism of everything. Broke out of 17 years in law to pursue a classical music passion by managing the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and more. Working with composer Karl Jenkins was a treat. Used to camping in the middle of nowhere. Have 2 sons who have inherited a fair amount of "rant-ability" themselves.