South Africa’s Pro Sports Still Have Racial Quotas

Much was made about Mississippi finally giving in to inevitable pressure and accepting the Emancipation Proclamation a few years ago. Good timing on that, now that the U.S. is about to inaugurate an African-American President (some Barack Obama guy?). Unfortunately, South Africa hasn’t really caught up yet, as it turns out they’re still using the athletic equivalent of Jim Crow laws to pick their cricket teams.

Herschelle Gibbs

(Herschelle Gibbs: South African cricket’s Rosa Parks.)

It’s true, and we had no idea, either, until we found this story about the country finally abandoning its race-based selection on STUFF.CO.NZ, which cites the South African teams improved performance when it — brace yourself for this one — picked athletes based on talent and ability rather than the color of their skin.

Of course, the fact that the surging South African cricket team currently has seven non-white players among its 15-man squad isn’t enough to make Cricket South Africa, the sport’s governing body in the country, pull the trigger on overall “merit-based selection” overnight. No, CSA is insisting on phasing the policy in over three years, sticking to the slightly less-shocking “target-transformation policy,” a quota system that places four non-white players on every cricket team.

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