Siya Kolisi says his Stormers teammates must each make their own decision as to whether to show support for Black Lives Matter when rugby resumes in the South Africa on Saturday.
Kolisi, who led South Africa to Rugby World Cup success in Japan last year, has revealed in-depth discussions within the Stormers camp about BLM and equality, and says they agreed it would be up to each individual to decide their own stance without prejudice.
“We’ve tried to narrow it down to what’s going on here in South Africa,” Kolisi said.
“We pride ourselves on our diversity in the Stormers team.
“There are so many things that people can do to show their support, and we said as long as we’re getting the education, and we’re learning and growing each week, what someone else does, that’s up to you.
“We’re not going to judge each other. We have to respect what [team-mates] are doing and the decision they’re making, and they will answer for it.
“If you ask me what I’m doing, I will answer for it and then the next guy will answer for themselves.”
South Africa’s Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, angrily demanded action from rugby authorities when eight South Africans at English side Sale Sharks did not take a knee while teammates did before a game last month.
“[The] BLM movement is important because the rot and the pain has been faced by black players here in South Africa,” Mthethwa said in a statement.
The Stormers will play what is essentially a pre-season fixture against the Lions on Saturday, the first rugby to be played in the country since March.
The match is part of a double-header dubbed Super Saturday at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
The Bulls face the Sharks in the other fixture.