Former South African spinner Paul Adams has told Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) Social Justice and Nation-Building hearings that racial stereotyping was rampant during his playing days and that he was called by several names, including ‘brown s***’ by fellow teammates. The left-arm spinner, whose ‘frog in a blender’ action became his trademark, took 134 wickets in 45 Tests and announced his retirement in 2008.
Appearing before the Social Justice and Nation-Building hearings, Adams, who was the only player of colour in the playing XI when he made his Test debut, said, “I was called brown s*** when I was playing. It often used to be a song when we won a game and we were in fines’ meetings. They would sing, ‘brown s*** in the ring, tra la la la laa’.
Adams said his girlfriend, whom he married later, once told him to oppose it.
“When you are playing for your country, when you have had that victory, you don’t make sense of it, you brush it off, but it’s blatantly racist. Some people will say unconscious bias and they weren’t aware but this is why we are here — to change that," Adams told ESPNcricinfo.
Adams said the media in his country too was racially biased.
“When I burst on the scene, I was very different: my action, I was very different from the norm, from how I looked, the music I played and even how I spoke. But one thing stood out for me, which was how some parts of the media described my bowling action.
“It would be described as ‘stealing hubcaps off moving cars’ and I found it derogatory. Was it because I was born in the Cape Flats? Is it always that Cape Coloureds are referred to as gangsters and thieves? It’s a form of racial stereotyping," he added.