Michael Holding calls on people to ‘stop being silent’ and ’embarrass racists’

Michael Holding Yorkshire

Broadcaster and former West Indies bowler Michael Holding has challenged everyone to “stop being silent” and “embarrass the racists” in the fight for equality.

Holding spoke eloquently on the issue of racism in July 2020, during a rain delay in England’s first home Test of the year, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder in the United States.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s All About programme, the 67-year-old called for everyone to play their part by adopting an “anti-racist” mindset.

Queen Elizabeth II at Lord's meeting the West Indian cricket team
Michael Holding (left) was part of a memorable West Indies team alongside Colin Croft and Joel Garner (PA)

“You need good people to stop being silent,” Holding said. “It is no longer good enough to say ‘I am fine, I am not racist’.

“You have now got to be anti-racist. You have got to call out the racists and you have got to embarrass the racists.

“Don’t just be silent and say to yourself, ‘I am not like him or her’. You have got to be anti.”

Earlier this year, Holding’s new book, ‘Why We Kneel, How We Rise’ – a sober, densely researched account of racial discrimination, partially told through discussions with leading athletes including Usain Bolt, Thierry Henry, Michael Johnson and Naomi Osaka – was published.

The West Indies great played 60 Tests, taking 249 wickets, and 102 one-day internationals, as well as appearing for English counties Lancashire and Derbyshire.

Speaking to Sky Sports Cricket last July, six weeks after Floyd’s death, which sparked global protests, Holding said: “I went on my very first tour of Australia in 1975-76. I never experienced any racism on the cricket field, but you are fielding down by the boundary and you hear some comments being passed.

“At that stage I just thought these people are sick. I came to England in ’76 and it started again, but myself – and most of the team – just brushed it off.

“I told myself that I was only here for the summer and I would be going back (home) in September.

“If you don’t educate people they’ll keep on growing up in that sort of society and you’ll not get meaningful change.”