Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith has admitted the ’baseless allegations of racism’ against him have been ’exhausting and distracting’.
FORMER Proteas captain and Cricket South Africa (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith has admitted that the “baseless allegations of racism” against him have been “exhausting and distracting”.
Smith was cleared this week of all three charges related to alleged racial discrimination by a two-man arbitration panel appointed by CSA.
The 41-year-old was under scrutiny following the CSA’s Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) commission’s report, which had made tentative findings that Smith had engaged in prejudicial behaviour involving the non-selection of former wicket-keeper Thami Tsolekile in the period 2012-2014, the appointment of Proteas men’s coach Mark Boucher over Enoch Nkwe in 2019, and the alleged refusal to work with black leadership at CSA.
Commenting on advocates Ngwako Maenetje SC and Michael Bishop’s ruling, a “completely vindicated” Smith said: “I’m grateful that my name has finally been cleared. I’ve always given South African cricket my utmost, as a player, captain and administrator, over the last 20 years. So, to hear these baseless allegations of racism being made has been extremely difficult, both for me and my family.
“It has been exhausting and distracting, not least because South African cricket has also been going through a well-publicised rebuilding process which has required a lot of attention.
“I’m just pleased that we have now gone through a robust arbitration process before independent, objective arbitrators and I have been completely vindicated.”
Smith’s attorney David Becker was equally pleased that his client had been cleared off these “vexatious claims”.
“Unfortunately there were a multitude of opportunistic claims and insinuations made before the SJN which were not properly tested and were clearly false,” said Becker.
“The allegations made against Graeme Smith in particular were made by a small group of disgruntled individuals with an obvious agenda to tarnish his good name and have him removed as the director of cricket.
“These vexatious claims and insinuations were serious and defamatory. Graeme has every right to feel aggrieved by these personal attacks. However, it is a testimony to his character and leadership that he has held his head up high throughout this process, focused on the job at hand and continued to play a hugely significant role in assisting South African cricket.”
Smith’s contract as CSA’s director of cricket expired at the end of last month. He has since opted to move on to other business ventures and is currently commentating in India.
CSA has been ordered to pay all Smith’s costs associated with the arbitration process.