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Ex-SA skipper says he feels vindicated

Smith grateful to have name cleared of racism allegations

The former Proteas captain was accused of racial prejudice against former black players and leadership figures

Tiisetso Malepa Sports reporter
Graeme Smith served as Cricket SA's director of cricket from December 2019 to the end of March 2022 when his contract was not renewed.
Graeme Smith served as Cricket SA's director of cricket from December 2019 to the end of March 2022 when his contract was not renewed.
Image: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images

Graeme Smith says he’s grateful his name has been cleared and he can now move on with his life vindicated.

Smith’s former employer‚ Cricket SA (CSA)‚ announced late on Sunday that the former Proteas captain had been cleared, via an independent arbitration process, of the racism allegations from CSA’s social justice and nation-building (SJN) process last year.

Smith‚ SA’s most successful captain, who led the Proteas from 2003 until his retirement in 2014 and the only player to have captained a team in more than 100 Tests‚ served as director of cricket from December 2019 and left at the end of March this year, after his contract was not renewed by CSA.

He was accused of racial prejudice against black former players and leadership figures in the body.

I’m pleased we have now gone through a robust arbitration process before independent‚ objective arbitrators and I have been completely vindicated.
Graeme Smith

“I’m grateful that my name has finally been cleared. I’ve always given SA cricket my utmost as a player‚ captain and administrator over the past 20 years‚” 41-year-old Smith said. “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 SA cricket has also been going through a well-publicised rebuilding process that has required a lot of attention.

“I’m pleased we have now gone through a robust arbitration process before independent‚ objective arbitrators and I have been completely vindicated.”

Smith’s attorney David Becker said: “Unfortunately there were a multitude of opportunistic claims and insinuations made before the SJN which were not properly tested and were clearly false.

“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 high throughout this process‚ focused on the job at hand and continued to play a hugely significant role in assisting SA cricket. Graeme remains enormously grateful for the opportunity to serve SA cricket.”

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