CHENNAI: An old Instagram post by Ishant Sharma has backed Darren Sammy's allegation that he was the subject of a racial slur when he represented Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Indian pacer, in a post put up on May 14, 2014, gave the following caption: "Me, bhuvi (Bhuvneswar Kumar), kaluu (Sammy) and gun (Dale Steyn) sunrisers." The word Ishant used is a word used to describe black people in an unflattering way.
West Indies' T20 World Cup-winning captain found this out while watching a show by Hasan Minhaj in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In the show titled 'We Cannot Stay Silent About George Floyd', aired on June 4, Minhaj asked his viewers: "Do you know what we (the Asian community) call black people? We call them 'kala,' it means black — not in a good way. If someone in your family is dark skinned, we clown them. We call them kallu... look at kallu."
Sammy, till he saw the show, was under the impression that 'kalu' meant a 'strong stallion' or something 'uplifting'. He revealed he was 'piss(ed) now'. The Instagram story also contained a number of angry emojis, posted on June 7. On Monday, Sammy, one of the first cricketers to speak out against racism after Floyd's death on May 25, asked his SRH teammates from 2013 and 2014 to come forward and apologise.
"All those who used to call me that, you guys know yourselves... reach out to me, let's have a conversation. Because, if it was in any way, shape or form what Minhaj said it meant, I'm very disappointed," he said. "I will be messaging those people. You guys know who you are. I must admit, at the time in which I was being called that, I did not know what it meant," he added.
"I thought it meant strong stallion or whatever it is, and I saw no problems with it because I was ignorant to the fact of what it meant, I thought it meant something else, something uplifting." he said.
"Me being a team man, I thought, hey, teammates are happy, it must be something funny. You can understand my frustration and anger when it was pointed out to me that it wasn't funny at all, it was degrading," he said. "I've had great memories in all the dressing rooms I've been in, as a T20 player, as a leader in a dressing room, as a captain, I've always been one to build up a relationship or build up a team, not bring it down. So, all those who used to call me that, you guys know yourselves, some of you have my numbers, you have me on Instagram, on Twitter, wherever. Reach out to me, let's have a conversation," he added.
"... I'll still be angry, and deserve an apology from you guys, because I saw all of you guys as my brothers. So, talk to me, reach out to me, please clear the air," he said.
To be fair to Ishant, in another Instagram post, posted on April 19, 2014, he wrote this of Sammy. "One of the best human being and my close friend of sunrisers!! Darren Sammy".