Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Zimbabwe Cricket have banned batsman Mark Vermeulen from all forms of cricket after he posted a racist comment on social media.
Under an article posted on Facebook, which regarded Prosper Utseya’s letter to Zimbabwe Cricket, Vermeulen referred to black Zimbabweans as “apes” and said that “white people” had “f****d up the apes’ lives”. He also said “if we…had never educated them, Prosper wouldn’t be having these problems”. Vermeulen deleted the comments later, but screenshots of it went viral on the internet.
“Racism is abominable and there can be no defence for it,” a statement by Zimbabwe Cricket said. “Mark Vermeulen has been banned from participating in all cricket activities, after he owned up to repulsive remarks that reflect racism, prejudice and plain ignorance. We find Vermeulen’s Facebook comment distasteful and unacceptable, particularly for a senior sportsman who should have learned from playing in Zimbabwe and abroad that there is no place for racism in sport.”
Following the comments he posted, it was reported that players on Vermeulen’s domestic franchise, the Mashonaland Eagles, threatened to boycott all matches he participated in.
Vermeulen apologised for his remarks and claimed that Utseya “had accepted my apology”.
“I know my comments were over the top and I apologise to all that I have offended,” Vermeulen’s statement said. “But as a cricketer, it’s how our minds work… It was not meant in a menacing way. It was just a chirp that often happens out on the field of play and as men, you take the blow on the chin and get on with the game.”
This is not the first time Vermeulen has been in trouble as he was banned from playing cricket in England for 10 years in September 2006 after he was involved in an altercation with a few spectators during a club match.
Vermeulen also infamously burned down Zimbabwe’s cricket academy in 2006, but he was acquitted in 2008 on the grounds that he was suffering from psychological problems, which stemmed from being struck on the head by pace bowler Travis Friend while batting in the nets in 2003 and India seamer Irfan Pathan in January 2004.
The 36-year-old most recently represented Zimbabwe in their one-off Test match against South Africa in August 2014, during which he made scores of 14 and 21.