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26 February 1999
South Africa scrutinise 'racial' terms
By Charles Randall in Johannesburg
THE possibility that some ordinary cricket terminology could be deemed offensive is being investigated in South Africa as a result of two cases of on-field misbehaviour punished by the cricket authorities yesterday.
The United Cricket Board of South Africa have asked Brian McMillan, the former Test all-rounder, to make a public apology for using the words "coolie creeper" during a match - meaning a ball bowled along the ground - and they banned Alan Badenhorst, the Eastern Province B captain, for almost two years for calling an opponent a "half-bred kaffir".
In addition, the board confirmed yesterday they had discussed the potential problem raised by general cricket expressions, saying they had a duty to ensure terminology was not offensive to any community in South Africa.
The UCB did not identify specific words, though Brian Basson, director of umpiring and playing affairs, agreed that 'chinaman', the left-armer's wrist-spun off-break, and 'chinese cut', an inside edge through the legs, could be examples, but he added: "I don't think there are any people in South Africa of Chinese origin playing cricket." Basson said: "We shall have to be careful about other terms like 'whitewash' [a one-sided victory] and many others."
The expression coolie creeper - 'grubber' in England - is not totally accepted as part of cricket. For example, Goolam Bodi, 20, Gauteng's India-born chinaman bowler, dislikes it. "It does sound offensive to me," he said.
"Chinaman is different because that's the name given to the left-armer's wrist spin everywhere."
McMillan said: "It is a load of crap. Does this mean that a 'chinaman' is no longer a left-arm spinner's googly but a racial slur?" He claimed initially he was not prepared to apologise but the UCB said yesterday he would escape with a severe reprimand only if he made a public apology after the current Western Province match on Sunday.
Badenhorst, for his "crude and abusive" language to Mario Arthur, a Griqualand West batsman, was ruled out of all cricket until Jan 1, 2000.
Source :: Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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