Former Zimbabwe batsman Mark Vermeulen’s Facebook rant about black players carried in yesterday’s NewsDay edition attracted outrage on social media platforms.
BY KEVIN MAPASURE
While the 37-year-old visited NewsDay offices to give his side of the story and offer a public apology, his franchise administration were locked in a meeting to determine whether to take action on the matter.
Some on the social media commentators yesterday said the player needed help rather than be cast away, while others called for an immediate ban.
Former Zimbabwe national team coach Alan Butcher expressed surprise at the contents of the post after he was alerted by a colleague on Twitter.
He tweeted: “Just seen it . . . ohh.”
Former Sports minister David Coltart was dragged into commenting on the matter by Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo.
“My friend Jonathan was determined to involve me. Racist comments like this are disgusting and retrogressive and need to be condemned,” he tweeted, before adding: “The danger is that some will try to argue that this represents the views of most whites (of) which it doesn’t. Most are appalled by it.”
Vermeulen responded to a Facebook conversation, where the topic was Prosper Utseya’s alleged discrimination based on colour, which he suggested was responsible for his lack of game time at the World Cup in February.
Vermeulen then said; “Haaaaaa a a a!!!!!!!!!! If we had left them in the bush and never educated them, Prosper [Utseya] wouldn’t be having these problems because he would be living happily in his mud hut, eating ground-up maize. So, of course, it’s our fault. Every single problem a black has is because of white people, that’s why racism is only able to work one way because we basically fxxxd up the apes’ lives.”
But yesterday, he offered a written apology, whose full version we have been published in this edition.
“In July of this year, I woke up at 4am to find a post on Facebook about Prosper claiming he wasn’t picked for any of the World Cup matches in February/March of this year. I then read all the posts from people and added my five-cent comment hastily without thinking of the repercussions. I apologised to Prosper personally about the issue, he accepted the apology. I know the comments were over the top and I apologise to all that I have offended,” he said.
Vermeulen, however, said he had been subjected to worse abuse, adding that such banter was normal in cricket.