Off The Field

Mark Boucher apologizes for racist language, offensive songs during playing days

Written by Abhishek Patil

South Africa head coach Mark Boucher has admitted to taking part in singing songs containing offensive terms, specifically directed at former team mate Paul Adams, during his playing days. In a statement submitted to Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) hearings, Boucher responded to allegations of him participating in an exclusionary and discriminatory team culture within the Proteas during his playing days.

Former South Africa spinner Adams revealed in hearings last month that he had been called “brown s***” by Boucher and his team-mates at fines meetings during his career.

“I apologise unreservedly for any offensive conduct, real or perceived, that has been attributed to me,” Boucher wrote in his affidavit. “We, the team, coaching staff, selectors and CSA, during the period in question, should have been more sensitive and created an environment where all members of the team could raise and talk about these issues without allowing them to fester, as they clearly have.”

Boucher said he would submit a supplementary affidavit in “due course” in which he would “deal with the specific allegations made against me”. He also requested that the follow-up submission be kept confidential so as not to become a “disparaging mud-slinging match which will inevitably detract from the objectives of the SJN”.

“I do not recall which ‘songs master’ initiated the song referred to by Mr. Adams, but I acknowledge that it has now become apparent from testimony of former team-mates that some of what happened at these meetings was totally inappropriate, unacceptable and in retrospect understandably offensive,” he wrote.

“While at the time we thought it was playful banter within a team environment in which we all participated as a normal part of team dynamics, I deeply regret and apologise for the part I played by joining in with my team-mates in singing offensive songs or using offensive nicknames.”

About the author

Abhishek Patil