Sammy says his spirit immediately returned when he played in the Indian Premier League with the Hyderabad Sunrisers in 2013 and 2014 – and in particular when the nickname “kalu” was used to describe him and the Sri Lankan player Thisara Perera.
Perera declined to comment when given the opportunity.
The nickname has become so commonplace that Sammy says he even used it to describe himself.
In those years with the Sunrisers, Sammy and his teammates have reached the IPL playoffs. He says that one of the main reasons for their success was “unity and camaraderie and the way we fought”.
“The right is the right”
“It came at a time when racism and social injustice and systemic racism were in the foreground of everyone’s mind,” said Sammy.
But Sammy’s social media accounts show a number of people who defend the nickname – and even call it that. Their argument is that the word is not racist and is just a nickname.
However, Sammy says that continued use shows that there is still a huge “part of (South Asian) culture that really needs to be educated”.
“As a leader, you have to have tough conversations and I’m not afraid of having it. It doesn’t matter,” he says. “Good is good. There is no wrong time to do the right thing.
“This is part of the education and discussion of these topics which will help to publicize this culture.”
Parvez Rasool, one of Sammy’s Sunrisers teammates in 2014, said he was “unhappy” that the term was being used against Sammy.
“If someone used such words against Sammy, it is unfortunate,” he told CNN. “I was part of the team, I really enjoyed playing under his command. He is a very happy man.
“This conversation never took place before me. But, if anyone used derogatory words against Sammy, it is extremely unfortunate.”
The Indian Cricket Control Board, which regulates the IPL, did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
“I think I am beautiful”
The caste system categorizes Hindus at birth – defining their place in society, what jobs they can do and who they can marry. Those at the bottom of the system are called “untouchables”.
“To me, that symbol of the cop kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that’s what he showed me. It was like a man with suffocating power someone who can’t help himself.”
The police murder of Floyd led Sammy to reconsider his time in India and this period of reflection also led him to reflect on India’s long history with brightening products.
Some Bollywood stars have been criticized for promoting “fairness” creams.
“Any place that continues to promote the fairer you are, the more beautiful you are, so you have to understand that something is wrong with this system,” said Sammy.
“What about people who look like me? Isn’t it beautiful? Because I think I’m beautiful. But why should I discolour or lighten the color of my skin to be considered beautiful? That’s wrong. And it is a difficult subject but it is the one that must be taught. “
Sammy, who has played 38 test games for the West Indies, said the international cricket governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), must also take responsibility for educating players and fans about racism. .
“The ICC is trying to protect the game, and well they are. Every cricketer entering international cricket or playing in the league, the first thing they do (is) to have an anti-doping and anti-corruption seminar” , he said.
“You are educated. They have campaigns around the world of cricket that educate you on these things. I think the same importance should be given to anti-racism, learning from other cultures.
“If you understand my story, if you know where I come from, what drives me to play cricket, then you will understand how to describe myself, you will understand why I do what I do. So, when you feel like me say something about the color of my skin, you would know it, you would be educated as you know, I have come a long way. “
The ICC did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Like other sports, representation is another problem that the game faces.
According to Sammy, very few teams around the world have minority black, Asian and ethnic head coaches, which must be rectified if the sport continues.
“How many color coaches do you see in cricket? Do you think you will ever see a color coach being the head coach of England or also of Australia or New Zealand?” Said Sammy.
“How do you give people here in the Caribbean an equal opportunity when you don’t really give them a chance to see how good they are. Give us more opportunities to show you that we are good too.”
“But you see, we are embracing quote unquote, a white coach, in the West Indies, in South Africa, in Pakistan. Why is it so easy for us to kiss the whole world and it is so difficult for the world to kiss some of us? “