My good friend Russell found out that Steven Friedman has a Facebook page where he promotes his professional output. Thinking it the appropriate place to raise this matter, Russell posted the link to my original post along with the following challenge. Thanks for this, Russell.
Hi Steven. I would just like to comment on your FB post about AB’s alleged racism. Like you, I don’t know a lot about cricket, but lucky for both of us, there are people out there that do – one of these people is Adriaan du Toit.
In an earlier reply to a post (which seems to have mysteriously disappeared from your wall) you commented that “there was no proof that your allegations were incorrect”. Adriaan has gone to great lengths to research the accusations (a task some might feel you should have attempted before leaping to baseless accusations) and found them without merit.
I would urge you to please reply to the article – http://sport.iafrica.com/news/782428.html – either apologising for unsubstantiated accusations, or providing the same level of due diligence to counter-argue your point.
You are obviously a hugely respected individual in the political landscape – both informing public opinion on issues as well as educating the youth of tomorrow – I would hate to think that this knee-jerk response to one comment is indicative of the level of analysis & deliberation you usually give to your public opinions.
Predictably, one of Mr Friedman’s ‘guardians’ posted a response but it was so laughably incoherent it served little purpose beyond adding a much appreciated sense of levity to the debate. Soon after, though, the man himself becomes involved:
If you think my point was wrong, tell me what was wrong about it
To which I replied:
Adriaan du Toit:
I should think the link he includes in his post does so sufficiently. Did you read it?
What follows is important because it’s Mr Friedman’s first response to the article. How will he construct his defense? Will he counter me with evidence of his own? Will he produce a valid but hitherto unknown definition of the term ‘racist’ which completely nullifies my argument? Or will he bring his A-game, schooling me on the finer points of reasoning and debate, causing me massive embarrassment and a near-complete emotional breakdown? Ladies and gentlemen, behold the response of one of the finest analytical minds in our country:
No, the link he includes does not do so sufficiently at all. It shows that on rare occassions he feels a need to mention Hashim Amla. He never mentions other black players who have performed consistently well; Lonwabo Totsobe is regarded by the cricketing world as a consistent performer – de Villiers never mentions him. When Robin Peterson goes for 4 an over, de Villiers gets excited about de Lange and Morkel who went for 7 an over. Frankly, I think you and your friends should devote far more time to helping to get rid of the racism in SA cricket than in trashing anyone who points it out. The hysteria and personal abuse with which the link is laced betrays a bad conscience.
Whaaa?!? That’s it?
The response I had so nervously been waiting for was so staggeringly, magnificently hypocritical and pointless that I was left feeling like Dustin Hoffman in ‘Hook’ after confronting an ageing, overweight Peter Pan for the first time in decades. A battle the captain had been relishing, playing each of his opponents’ moves and his own counter-moves over and over in his head, studying the art of swordplay for years, committed to the inevitable confrontation, relishing the anticipation, has been rendered the greatest of anticlimaxes by the astonishing ineptness of his opponent.
The notion that this feeble attempt at defending himself would send my friends and I scattering back to our Newlands season tickets and Xboxes with our tails between our legs enraged me so that I found myself on the verge of ambivalence. “Sod it.” I thought for a moment. “Let this dinosaur wallow in his outdated bitterness. Let him carry on polluting the minds of youngsters who deserve to be taught about good faith and respect and the burden of proof.”
It took a long walk and a fish and chip roll to regain my motivation and focus. Here is my response.
Adriaan du Toit
Mr Friedman, your understanding of the term ‘sufficiently’ must be different to mine. In the post I provide evidence that indisputably refutes the facts that you based your allegation on:
“…he can’t say the names of black players who do well…”
“He does this after every game.”
I don’t see how you could possibly interpret the credit he gives both Amla and Duminy as insufficient to counter these statements of yours. You said he never credits black players and therefore is a racist, I provide evidence that he does so. Please explain to me how this is insufficient.
But before you do that, please see the quotes below which I found after spending a little bit of time searching for recent interviews with de Villiers on the internet.
http://www.sport24.co.za/Cricket/SAinNZ/AB-heaps-praise-on-Lopsy-20120215: “Lopsy has just been outstanding,” “I don’t know how he does it so consistently. He just keeps taking wickets.” “It’s encouraging to see his early tour form and hopefully he continues to excel throughout the tour.”
http://www.espncricinfo.com/south-africa-v-sri-lanka-2011/content/story/550375.html: “We put the lower order under huge pressure so they couldn’t play the game they would normally play,” de Villiers said. “But with the ball, they [Parnell and Philander] showed variation and skill, and then we let them down in the field.”
I understand you’re a busy man, Mr Friedman. It’s very likely that you didn’t have ten minutes at your disposal before making your allegations. Don’t you think it’s the least you could have done before calling someone who’s never done a single harmful thing to you a racist?
It’s difficult for me to be objective here, Mr Friedman. I am a devoted supporter of the Proteas and a patriotic, optimistic South African, hence I am massively invested in this debate. But despite the fact that my very obvious bias probably negates what I’m about to say entirely, I’m hoping you’ll take it to heart. There is no way you can intellectualise your way out of the hole you dug for yourself here. Your allegations were baseless and damaging. Please, Mr Friedman, withdraw your statement.
Steven, I know in the greater scheme of your life this little tiff I’m having with you is a non-event. I know this thing hardly leaves a mark in comparison to the ‘real’ confrontations you’ve had to deal with in your long and distinguished career. But realise something please, this thing is a long way from over and I doubt you realise how motivated we are. Until you deliver the retraction we’re asking for, we intend to do everything within reason to shine as much light as is possible on how your actions here are doing nothing but damage to our country’s journey towards integration and non-racialism. You are holding us back as much as the demons you’re fighting.