New Zealand Cricket has come under fire from a section of fans after including Scott Kuggeleijn in their squad for the T20I series against India.
Kuggeleijn has featured in the Black Caps XI in all three matches. The all-rounder, who was tried on charges of sexual violation and indecent assault in 2017, was found not guilty of rape at the Hamilton District Court.
However, he had admitted during the trial that the woman involved in the case had said “no”, adding that he apologised to her the following day. “I tried [having sex] twice like she might have said ‘no, no’ a few times, but it wasn’t dozens of times,” stuff.co.nz reported him as saying in court.
— Mad Chapman (@madmanchap) February 8, 2019
“I heard you felt you couldn’t say no and were pressured into things. It’s pretty chilling to hear and think of myself in that kind of light, but looking back I was pretty persistent. I’m so so sorry and it has made me think about a few things. I hope you are OK and I’m sorry for the harm mentally I have caused you,” his message to her reportedly said.
Since the not-guilty verdict, Kuggeleijn has been included in the national side. A section of fans, however, have demanded that New Zealand Cricket take a stronger stance on the matter, and they’ve made their voices heard since he played his first game at home against Sri Lanka earlier this year.
Actually no. I’m not going to watch any more Black Caps games until the NZC grow a pair and make some kind of effort to publicly address the situation with Kuggeleijn. It’s not ok to be silent like this. It’s not ok for an organisation that young men look up to and aspire to.
— Michelle Langstone (@mifflangstone) February 10, 2019
Fans have complained on social media and a few placards raising the issue were spotted in the stands during the T20I series against India. The authorities’ reaction to them, however, have further raised hackles.
In Wellington, a woman holding a “no means no” placard was reportedly escorted from her seat by the security personnel, and the banner confiscated. Others in Eden Park complained that they were asked to take down the signs because they covered sponsor signage.
This is *extremely* disappointing, @BLACKCAPS. The silence around Scott Kuggeleijn is unacceptable. By continuing to select him for the national team NZ Cricket is condoning toxic masculinity and contributing to sexual violence and #rapeculture. 😠 https://t.co/nl9dEF4wK5
— Rhys Jones (@rg_jones) January 31, 2019
NZC for its part apologised after the first incident, agreeing that it was an “over-reaction”. “We agree the course taken was an over-reaction and unnecessary, and the sign certainly wasn’t offensive,” Richard Boock, the NZC public affairs manager, told stuff.co.nz.
“The policy [signage targeting a player] is a guideline only and is not written in stone. I think, on this occasion, we should have shown better judgment and exercised more discretion. We’ll be having a chat about it in our debrief with a view to making sure that doesn’t happen again, and we’re sorry.”