Ross Taylor, who recently retired from international cricket, has revealed that he was a victim of racism during his 16-year career in New Zealand cricket. In an autobiography released on Thursday, Taylor, who is of Samoan heritage, describes racist locker room “banter” and casually racist comments from some New Zealand team officials.
“Cricket in New Zealand is a pretty white sport,” Taylor writes in his book, entitled Black & White. For much of my career I’ve been an anomaly, a brown face in a vanilla line-up. That has its challenges, many of which aren’t readily apparent to your teammates or the cricketing public.”
The 38-year-old said many people assumed he was of Maori or Indian heritage because Pacific Island representation in New Zealand cricket was not so common.
Taylor also said he was concerned that calling out the racism might make the situation worse.
“In many ways dressing-room banter is the barometer,” Taylor writes. “A teammate used to tell me ‘you’re half a good guy Ross but which half is good? You don’t know what I’m referring to.’ I was pretty sure I did.”Other players also had to put up with comments that dwelt on their ethnicity. In all probability a [white New Zealander] listening to those sorts of comments would think ‘oh, that’s okay, it’s just a bit of banter.’
Taylor says a former manager and coach of the New Zealand team made comments that were unintentionally racist.
The manager told Taylor’s wife, Victoria, that in his experience players of Maori and Pacific Island heritage had problems managing money and he offered his assistance.
A New Zealand Cricket spokesperson told the New Zealand Herald newspaper that the national body “deplores racism, is a staunch supporter of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission’s Give Nothing to Racism campaign and is deeply disappointed Ross has been exposed to this type of behaviour.”
Ross Taylor announced retirement from international cricket at the end of 2021. He played his last international game which was an ODI against the Netherlands at Hamilton on 4th April 2022. The 38-year-old retired as the leading run scorer for his country in both Tests and ODIs.