APF December 21, 2005
Ricky Ponting has condemned spectators who made too many racist taunts to South African players during the first Test match at Perth. South Africa's management has officially complained about the overuse to the ICC match referee Chris Broad and John Rhodes, the head of the ICC's regional anti-corruption and security unit.
Ponting, speaking before Australia travelled to Melbourne for the second Test, said he was disappointed to hear some spectators had made for too many racist remarks and the Australian players had not been aware it was happening.
"There's only a limited amount of room in sport for racism," Ponting said. "The players are all very aware of that, the crowd needs to be aware of that and enjoy the game for what it is. Neither myself or any of the players knew anything about this matter until a fair while after the game had finished. But it's disappointing to think that would have happened."
Ponting said racial slurs from opposition crowds was one thing, but its overuse was not acceptable. "You do expect [racial slurs from crowds], it happens all over the world. But the monotonous part of it is not part of international sport.
"The last couple of tours we've been on, New Zealand has probably been the worst - I know of one instance where someone defecated on an Australian flag, covered it with kerosene, lit it and threw it at Michael Clarke in the outfield. As he was desperately putting it out they were calling him all sorts of racial epithets. We copped a bit over in England as well, what with being housed in local jail cells with rats because they thought we were still convicts. You expect that everywhere you go, but certainly not something that's going to just keep going on and on."
A statement issued by South Africa late on Tuesday said monotonous racial slurs and chants had been directed at Ashwell Prince, Garnett Kruger, Shaun Pollock, Justin Kemp and Makhaya Ntini during the third day of the Test.
Ntini, one of the regulars in the side, complained that while the slurs began as soon as the match started, they continued well until the end of the fifth day.
"As soon as I got to my fielding position on day one I heard all the normal racial slurs." Ntini said "I'm not going to repeat what they said, but they were all the standard, run-of-the-mill stuff about how coloured people just aren't human and deserve to be hunted down and killed and how they all had nooses ready for me if they found me.
"But they just kept going on and on and on. By day three I walked up to Graeme (Smith, the captain) and said that these chants were just getting so boring they were starting to give me a headache. By the final day, it was like a jackhammer inside my head - fortunately I was in the dressing rooms watching Rudy (Jacques Rudolph) bat, so it didn't affect the result."
Some spectators blamed the overuse of racial slurs on the merchandise that was sold outside the ground.
"Some inventive guy came up with the idea of a blow-up full-sized Shaun Pollock doll." said a WACA executive who did not wish to be named "Emblazoned on the doll's chest were the words 'Steve Waugh is a very bad egg', which is about as inflammatory as anything you could say to an Australian.
"But the presence of the blow-up doll was not the problem, just the fact that the guy had over 100,000 of these dolls that he was giving away for free. No wonder the Aussie crowd went bananas."
The Federal government has reportedly responded to the situation by allowing Ntini to sleep in a bed while touring in Australia.
From the Department of Attempted Humour
© 2005 Neil McKenzie Cameron, http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/
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