Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy has asked fellow cricketers in the Indian Premier League to clear the air after learning they may have been mocking the color of his skin.
Sammy, who is black, said in a video on Instagram he was frequently called “kalu” by smiling and laughing Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates while playing in the IPL in 2013 and 2014. Kalu is Hindi for black, but Sammy said on Monday he thought it meant “strong stallion,” that it was “uplifting,” and he would gladly tell people that’s his name.
He was enlightened and disgusted after watching Hasan Minhaj, a U.S. comedian of Indian descent, reveal in his Patriot Act show on Netflix that kalu was used in a discriminatory way in India.
Sammy said he wants teammates — whom he did not name — to apologize to him if they said it to him in racial tones.
“Please tell me there’s another meaning to that word and when I was being called it, it was all in love,” he said. “I thought it meant ‘strong stallion’ or whatever it is. And I saw no problems with it.
“Every time I was called — it was me and (Sri Lanka’s) Thisara Perera — there was always laughter in the moment. So, being the team man, I thought, ‘Hey, teammates are happy, it must be something fun.’ But you could understand my frustration and my anger when it was pointed out to me that it wasn’t funny at all. It was degrading.”
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