Usman Khawaja reaffirmed his position expressing his determination to contest the International Cricket Council’s regulations and seek permission to don shoes featuring Gaza slogans.
Australian cricketer Usman Khawaja caused a stir when he sported shoes with messages advocating human rights and equality during a practice session before the first Test against Pakistan. Despite intending to wear them during the match, the ICC intervened, citing a violation of regulations.
In response, Khawaja has expressed his determination on Instagram, reiterating his stance and questioning whether the messages, promoting freedom and equality, should provoke offense. He urged people to ponder whether everyone deserves freedom and equal treatment, regardless of race or beliefs.
“I’ve noticed what I’ve written on my shoes has caused a little bit of a stir. I won’t say much, I don’t need to. But what I do want is for everyone who did get offended, somehow, is to ask yourself these questions. Is freedom not for everyone? Are all lives not equal?” he said in the video.
“To me personally, it doesn’t matter what race, religion or culture you are. Let’s be honest about it. If me saying all lives are equal as a result of people being offended, to the point where they’re calling me up, and telling me, well isn’t that the bigger problem?” Khawaja explained.
The opening batter further emphasized that his stance isn’t political but a humanitarian plea for equality. He expressed dismay over the disregard for innocent lives, highlighting how personal the cause is, especially envisioning his own children in tragic circumstances.
“What I’ve written on my shoes isn’t political. I’m not taking sides. Human life to me is equal. One Jewish life is equal to one Muslim life is equal to one Hindu life and so on. I’m just speaking up for those who don’t have a voice.”
“The ICC have told me that I can’t wear my shoes on field because they believe it’s a political statement under their guidelines. I don’t believe it is so – it’s a humanitarian appeal. I will respect their view and decision but I will fight it and seek to gain approval. Freedom is a human right. And all lives are equal. I will never stop believing that, whether you agree with me or not,” he added.
The ICC regulations prohibit players from showcasing messages on clothing or gear without approval. Any political, religious, or racial statements are not permitted. Notably, the ICC previously permitted players to kneel in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement amid the pandemic.
Australia is scheduled to play against Pakistan in the first Test in Perth on December 14.
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Last Updated on December 13, 2023
Senior Sports Copywriter