Scott Kuggeleijn’s participation in the ongoing T20I series between New Zealand and India is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Spectators in Wellington and Eden Park have been holding up posters in protest pertaining to charges of rape that had been levelled against the Kiwi cricketer in the past.
According to ESPNCricinfo, one poster at Auckland’s Eden Park, where India pulled off a series-levelling seven-wicket victory on Friday, read “Wake up, NZ Cricket, #MeToo”, in reference to an ongoing movement against sexual harassment and consent.
There was a similar placard held up at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Wednesday, where the first match of the series took place, which read, “No means no”.
However, it was controversially taken down by stadium officials, which invited a lot of criticism for New Zealand Cricket (NZC) in the aftermath, with the board even agreeing later that the move was unnecessary.
“We agree the course taken was an over-reaction and unnecessary, and the sign certainly wasn’t offensive,” NZC public affairs manager Richard Boock was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.
The all-rounder, son of former Test cricketer Chris Kuggeleijn, had been charged with rape in 2015, with trials subsequently taking place in 2016 and 2017.
While the jury on the first occasion were left undecided on the matter, the second one, in a verdict on February 2017 at the Hamilton District Court, declared him not guilty.
Kuggeleijn had admitted that the victim had told him twice that she didn’t intend to have physical relations with him during the incident.
Fans have also been vocal on the issue on social media.
@BLACKCAPS I feel sad I can’t support you tonight but I just will not while you insist on playing Scott kuggeleijn.
— Louise Ryan (@wou1) February 8, 2019
I was at the cricket last night. I hadn’t realised Scott Kuggeleijn was playing. But when he came up to bat I booed. And so did a lot of people. The crowd went quiet. Few people cheered for him. Don’t know if it translated on TV.
— Crafty Gardener (@craftygardennz) February 6, 2019
Here for the @BLACKCAPS but Scott Kuggeleijn shouldn’t be on the team and your management shouldn’t be silent on how players treat women.
— mandah (@jimmyjack888) February 6, 2019