Allegations of abuse towards Indian cricketers at SCG is Australia’s embarrassment

Remember Gladstone Small? Most Australian cricket fans over the age of 40 still do.

Small would probably prefer that it was because of his brilliant fast bowling. But his unusually short neck is the first thing most would recall.

Small’s jerky, idiosyncratic bowling action was one of the most frequently mimicked through his heyday of the mid-1980s and early ’90s.

At the time, there was a musical comedy troupe called The Music Men. Their songs were barely songs, really — more like football terrace chants.

Their hit was called What Can You Play?, a series of imitations that played well on variety shows like Hey Hey it’s Saturday. It had a Gladstone Small bit that always brought the house down. It was a bit of harmless fun.

Barbados-born Gladstone Small played 17 Tests for England, seven against Australia.(Supplied)

The Boxing Day Test of 1986 was when Small really made his name.

It was his third red-ball appearance for England and his first in Australia. By the end, most wondered why the tourists hadn’t picked him earlier in the series.

He promptly destroyed Australia’s first innings with five wickets, setting England on the path to victory.

The night of that electric performance, Small took his fiancee to a Melbourne restaurant and was amazed: as he walked in, every head in the room turned and he was soon receiving a standing ovation from all present.

Maybe Australians weren’t so bad after all, he told his colleagues.

That game ended quickly. Small took another couple of wickets, made some handy tail-end runs and took the catch that clinched the Ashes for England.

Later, some would ponder a statistic, maybe just a coincidence — after Norman Cowans’ demolition of Australia in 1982-83, it was the second in as many Melbourne Ashes Tests to be settled by a West Indian-born Englishman.

A section of the MCG crowd showed its appreciation of Gladstone Small’s performances by throwing bananas at him.

They treated him like an animal. Not for the first or last time, a visiting black player was peppered with racist abuse.

This, Small must have thought, was far closer to the Australia that black players of the era had been told to expect.

What exactly are they to expect now?

Two Indian players in cricket whites talk while walking on the field.
Jasprit Bumrah, left, and Mohammed Siraj made allegations of racist abuse at the end of day three.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

On Saturday, there was a great commotion outside the SCG changerooms when it became apparent that Indian cricketers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah claimed they’d been racially abused by members of the crowd.

Not many professional athletes fabricate incidents of racist abuse. Especially not in Australia, where the stories of Adam Goodes, Heritier Lumumba, Robert Muir and countless others show us what happens to those who dare complain.

On Sunday, Siraj did something as brave as any of them: hearing verbal abuse again as he fielded on the boundary shortly before tea, he moved to the middle of the ground and reported it.

Although both players said that Saturday’s abuse was racist, the precise nature of Sunday’s incident remains under investigation by Cricket Australia.

What is clear is that Siraj felt ridiculed and wouldn’t stand for it.

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The Indian players pointed out where the abuse was coming from.

The game stopped until a small cohort of Australian fans were led away by police, their removal all the more visible for the ground’s reduced capacity.

It is doubly regrettable that the targets of these volleys are men who have provided fans with so many reasons for cheer.

Bumrah has bowled as brilliantly in this series as any visiting paceman in recent memory, providing hours of compelling and joyful cricket. He delights us not just with his distinctive approach and whippy action, but the perma-smile that reminds us cricket is just a game.

Jasprit Bumrah smiles with both hands raised above his head
Jasprit Bumrah’s smile has been ever-present this series, whether he is taking wickets or not.(AP: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

Earlier on Sunday, two simple catches were dropped off his bowling, making ever more certain the likelihood of an Indian loss. Bumrah’s response was to smile again.

Siraj’s case is just as galling. Even in his second Test, it would be condescending to call him the more vulnerable of the pair, but to play in this game he has made immense sacrifices and shown great courage.

Earlier in the tour, in the middle of the team’s 14-day quarantine period, his father died.

Where many would have been on the first flight home, Siraj stayed, hoping to be of service to his country.

Mohammed Siraj dives onto his stomach to try to stop a ball. Marnus Labuschagne prepares to run
Mohammed Siraj put his heart into this Test match, taking a wicket in each innings.(AP: Rick Rycroft)

At 20, he’d never bowled with anything other than a tennis ball. Six years later, in Melbourne and now in Sydney, his considerable gifts with even the most ragged old ball have been obvious to see.

Patriotism does strange things to us. On Thursday, most Australians woke to the siege on the US Capitol. After a few hours watching the rolling coverage, switching over to the cricket was a relief.

Perhaps, like me, the first images you saw were the two teams lining up for their national anthems.

At some sporting contests, these are a dreary formality. Not when India is in town. Not when Jana Gana Mana is being sung. It moved Mohammed Siraj to a stream of unashamed tears, images beamed around the world.


There are those who will say that these problems cross all borders, and that you’ll always get a few bad apples. They’ll point to India’s own blemished record, especially on the cricket field. And they’ll be right.

But it’s really beside the point, isn’t it?

The point is that year after year, decade after decade, in their interactions on the field and off it, far too many Australians have been unable to distinguish between national pride and the comfortable expression of abuse. Far too many feel the latter is an entitlement that comes with the price of admission.

Mohammed Siraj’s prideful tears were a reminder that a love of one’s country can lift the spirit.

How embarrassing that a young man who sacrificed so much to represent India for the first time had the misfortune of doing it in a country where a cricketer can receive a standing ovation one day, and a serve of mindless abuse the next.

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Joe Biden glad Donald Trump will skip his inauguration, saying he’s ‘an embarrassment’

It was a change in position for Biden, who said last month that he hoped Trump would be present at his inauguration to symbolise the peaceful transfer of power.

Asked why he had changed his mind, Biden said: “Because he’s exceeded even my worst notions about him … He’s been an embarrassment to the country.”


Biden did not say whether he is supporting the accelerating push by House Democrats to impeach Trump for a second time.

In a letter to colleagues on Saturday (AEDT) Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that if Trump is not removed by his cabinet, the House will “proceed with our action”.

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Lexington – The end of the embarrassment | United States

APPALLING AS IT has been to witness an American president try to steal an election, Donald Trump’s efforts have amounted to less than the best-informed prognosticators feared. Back in June a bipartisan group of over 100 political operatives and scholars, gathered by the Election Integrity Project, war-gamed the aftermath of four scenarios: an unclear result, a narrow win for Joe Biden, a clear victory for Mr Trump and the same for Mr Biden. Only in the last simulation was America spared authoritarianism by Mr Trump, a constitutional crisis and street battles.

Mr Biden’s actual winning margin was at the outer edge of a “clear victory”. And the president’s response to it has been even wilder than the war-gamers envisaged. (They did not imagine, in such an event, that he would try to coerce Republican state legislators to overthrow the results.) Yet none of the other features of the Trump coups they envisioned has materialised. Attorney-General Bill Barr has gone to ground. High-powered conservative lawyers have taken a pass on the president’s bogus fraud claims.

Hence the ridiculous Rudy Giuliani, dripping sweat and hair dye and ranting about George Soros and Hugo Chávez, has been the spear-point of Mr Trump’s attempted heist. It has been laughable, a shambles. It has also illustrated—yet again—Mr Trump’s iron grip on his party, to the extent that most commentators seem to think the Republican nomination for the 2024 election is already his for the taking. They could be right. But Lexington is sceptical.

That is not to deny the president’s success in fast-tracking the myth of his stolen re-election to the pantheon of right-wing grievances. The same livid Trump superfans who have been rallying all year against mask-wearing and the scourge of devil-worshipping Democratic paedophiles have gathered, outside state legislatures from Arizona to Pennsylvania, to demand that state lawmakers “stop the steal”. Right-wing conspiracy theorists have been spitting out explanations—involving shadowy Biden-Harris vans crammed with ballots in Nevada, vanishing sharpie signatures in Arizona and so forth—for how the steal took place. A large majority of Republican voters say Mr Biden’s victory was illegitimate.

A bigger majority of Republican politicians are afraid to disabuse them. Three weeks after Mr Biden’s victory, only a few Republican senators had dared acknowledge it. The damage this has done to their party, and American democracy, could be profound. The next Republican loser to cry fraud will be preaching to the converted. Still, the assumption that Mr Trump will continue to preside over the mess he has made of the right is premature.

There is a reason why Grover Cleveland, in 1892, is the only one-term president to have been given another crack of the whip by his party. Voters want winners. And it is not obvious why Mr Trump—a politician whose pitch is based on his claimed inability to lose—should be a second exception to that rule. Once the smoke of the 2020 battle has cleared, many of his supporters may see him as he is: a loser whose deranged loss-denialism encapsulates why he ran behind down-ballot Republicans all across the country. There are even signs that one or two of his cheerleaders are already chewing on that pill. “You announce massive bombshells, then you better have some bombshells…,” said Rush Limbaugh, puzzling over Mr Giuliani’s performance.

The argument for Mr Trump bucking history rests on an assumption that he will shift his bully-pulpit to the disaggregated conservative media. With Twitter growing less tolerant of his disinformation, his offspring and supporters are migrating to Parler, which takes a laxer view of it. By becoming a staple on the ultra-Trumpist OAN or Newsmax channels—which Mr Trump recommended his followers switch to after Fox News called the election for Mr Biden—he could access 50m conservative homes. That would constitute a powerful foghorn. But Mr Trump’s ability to dictate terms to the Republican Party does not rest on his ability to entertain its voters. It relates to his power to terrorise Republican lawmakers with a possible primary challenge. And it is not clear that, once out of day-to-day politics, he will be able to do that.

OAN viewers are divorced from reality in more ways than one. Where Fox’s heavyweight newsgathering and polling operations help it to influence the political debate, the hard-right channels are comparatively irrelevant. Almost no one watches Newsmax on Capitol Hill. It is notable that the Tea Party movement, a Trump progenitor, was inspired by an anti-government rant on CNBC. For all his millions of listeners, Mr Limbaugh could not have had the same mobilising effect; such rants are expected of him.

It is not hard to imagine Mr Trump, without the ballast of his office, drifting into a state of lucrative but ever-more irrelevant bloviation. He might not have to resort to singing “Baby Got Back” in a bear costume to get an audience, as Sarah Palin recently did on Fox. But his wilderness years could resemble those of John McCain’s embarrassing running-mate more than most commentators imagine. “There is only so long you can live outside the maelstrom of the American news cycle and maintain relevance,” notes Jerry Taylor, founder of the Niskanen Centre and an astute observer of the right. Mr Trump’s campaign against the Murdoch channel is probably raising his chances of learning that lesson by the day. It has all the makings of a showdown between machine-tooled corporate competence and his own raging ineptitude.

Dances with bears

It is possible to imagine other scenarios. If the Trump clan captures the Republican National Committee (a prize Donald Trump junior is eyeing), Mr Trump would have a more than adequate platform. Yet take this as a caution. The Trump-bruised commentariat is exaggerating his prospects. When a poll this week suggested 53% of Republicans want him to be their nominee in 2024, it was reported as a testament to his strength. An alternative reading is that almost half of Republicans already want to see the back of him.

This article appeared in the United States section of the print edition under the headline “The end of the embarrassment”

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Albury man felt ‘shame’ and ’embarrassment’ over damage left behind | The Border Mail

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He didn’t mean any harm by it, but after climbing on to the roof of a parked car to try to see his mates Mitchell James O’Brien slipped. He fell hard, inflicting close to $3000 damage to the black Toyota Kluger parked as it was opposite Albury police station. The Albury man left dints to the roof and bonnet, scratches to the paintwork on the bonnet and a crack to the front windscreen. IN OTHER NEWS: The now 29-year-old, defence lawyer Mark Cronin told Albury Local Court magistrate Richard Funston on Monday, got on to the SUV because he “wanted to see where the group was”. Mr Cronin said he suspected O’Brien felt considerable shame and embarrassment over “being at court today”. He had also apologised to the owner of the vehicle and had wanted to make immediate restitution for the damage inflicted. But first, the victim’s insurer required O’Brien to wait for the case to be finalised by the court. O’Brien pleaded guilty to a single charge of destroy or damage property. “You live and you learn and this is one such occasion,” Mr Funston said. MORE COURT STORIES The court was told that O’Brien was walking along Olive Street, Albury, across from the station, on September 5 about 11.15pm. O’Brien was looking to where his group of friends had got to so climbed on to the bonnet and then the windscreen of the Toyota. That was when he fell, causing the damage, Mr Cronin said. Police immediately attended the scene, cautioning and then questioning O’Brien. They went to O’Brien’s home on October 8 about 6.30pm to conduct an interview. O’Brien was placed on a nine-month conditional release order and ordered to pay $2968.79 in compensation.


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Donald Trump’s legal team has been a ‘national embarrassment,’ according to one loyal Trump supporter

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

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‘Quite frankly, the conduct of the president’s legal team has been a national embarrassment.’

That’s former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie unloading on Donald Trump’s lawyers, telling ABC in an interview on Sunday that the president’s legal team has failed to provide evidence of fraud and it’s now is the time to think of the country first.

Christie pointed to lawyer Sidney Powell’s accusations against Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia, which is conducting another recount, despite the long odds of the result breaking in favor of President Trump. After all, Joe Biden, declared the winner Friday, has a 12,670 vote lead in the state.

Powell has also claimed that Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez — he’s been dead for a long time — joined the likes of liberal philanthropist George Soros and the Cintons to swing the election.

“This is outrageous conduct by any lawyer,” Christie said. “They allege fraud outside the courtroom, but when they go inside the courtroom, they don’t plead fraud and they don’t argue fraud.

He said he voted for Trump twice but “elections have consequences,” and it’s time Team Trump acknowledged the outcome. “The country is what has to matter the most,” Christie said. “As much as I’m a strong Republican and I love my party, it’s the country that has to come first.”

Here’s a clip from the interview:

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Biden Brands Trump’s Refusal To Concede An ‘Embarrassment’

President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday called President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede his election loss an “embarrassment” but dismissed the standoff as unimportant.

“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly,” Biden said when asked what he thinks about Trump’s refusal to acknowledge defeat in the November 3 election.

“How can I say this tactfully? I think it will not help the president’s legacy,” Biden told reporters in his home town of Wilmington, Delaware.

President Donald Trump got a boost from Attorney General William Barr in his attempt to question the election results

A week after the US election, Trump remained shut up in the White House, pushing an alternate reality that he is about to win and filing lawsuits alleging voter fraud that so far have been backed up by only the flimsiest evidence.

Biden, meanwhile, mostly ignored Trump.

“The fact that they’re not willing to acknowledge we won at this point is not of much consequence in our planning,” Biden said.

President Donald Trump spent the weekend playing golf

President Donald Trump spent the weekend playing golf

The Democrat signaled that despite attempts by Trump to stymie his transition to power he was increasingly a president in waiting.

In his latest exchanges with international leaders, he talked Tuesday with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ireland’s prime minister, Micheal Martin.

Asked what his message to them was, he said: “I’m letting them know that America is back. We’re going to be back in the game. It’s not America alone.”

Exactly four years ago, US president Barack Obama greeted president-elect Donald Trump at the White House

Exactly four years ago, US president Barack Obama greeted president-elect Donald Trump at the White House

Trump’s attempt to hold on to power has become all consuming for the man who often makes a point of publicly mocking rivals as “losers.”

“WE WILL WIN!” the Republican president tweeted early Tuesday, referring to his so far unsuccessful lawsuits. “WATCH FOR MASSIVE BALLOT COUNTING ABUSE.”

US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris celebrate victory on Saturday

US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris celebrate victory on Saturday

Emphasizing the atmosphere of intransigence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a testy news conference that he was preparing for “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

Since Election Day, Trump has made few public appearances and seems to have all but shelved normal presidential duties.

His only known activities outside the White House have been to play golf twice over the weekend, after the results came in.

US President-elect Joe Biden is increasingly acting like a leader in waiting

US President-elect Joe Biden is increasingly acting like a leader in waiting

Normally routine secret presidential intelligence briefings have been off the daily schedule. He has made no mention of the dramatic rebound in the Covid-19 pandemic across the country.

And his once near daily press conferences, interviews with Fox News or impromptu question-and-answer sessions with White House journalists have dried up.

In place of that, Trump has spent much of his time tweeting, mostly about what he claims is the stolen election.

Trump’s only significant presidential action has been the abrupt firing of defense secretary Mark Esper on Monday, which he announced on Twitter.

President Donald Trump spent the weekend playing golf

President Donald Trump spent the weekend playing golf

Exactly four years ago Tuesday, Trump had just scored his surprise victory against Hillary Clinton and toured the White House for the first time as a guest of Barack Obama.

That courtesy to a presidents-elect is an old tradition, highlighting the nation’s near sacred respect for the peaceful transfer of power.

Trump has not only failed to invite Biden for a chat in the Oval Office, he is blocking the Democrat from access to facilities, funding and expertise that usually come in a ready made package to help the incoming leader.

Release of this transition aid is controlled by the General Services Administration head Emily Murphy, who was appointed by Trump.

Biden, who won with a record number of votes but acknowledges that nearly half the electorate nevertheless backed Trump, is avoiding a fight.

He said Tuesday that he did not favor taking legal action to force Trump into complying and said with a smile: “Mr President, I look forward to speaking with you.”

Biden has set up a coronavirus task force, is vetting potential cabinet members and on Tuesday delivering his latest policy speech — this time on the fate of the Obamacare health care plan which Trump wants the Supreme Court to dismantle.

The latest major foreign leader to reach out with congratulations, ignoring Trump’s claim that he won last Tuesday, was Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who referred to Biden’s “election success.”

Washington is buzzing with speculation over who, if anyone, in Trump’s inner circle will finally persuade him to go.

Former President George W. Bush, the only living Republican ex-president, congratulated Biden on his victory, but he is an outlier in a party dominated by the still hugely popular Trump.

On Monday, the Republican leader in Congress, Senator Mitch McConnell, said Trump was “100 percent within his rights” to challenge the election in court.

None of the lawsuits appears to have the potential to change the result of votes and even a planned recount of Biden’s paper-thin victory in Georgia, or anywhere else, would be unlikely to change the fundamental math.

But Trump added a potential new weapon to his crusade against the results on Monday when his attorney general, Bill Barr, agreed to authorize probes into “specific allegations” of fraud.

Barr added a caveat that “specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries.”

However, Barr’s unusual intervention in the dispute prompted worries that Trump will go even further in his efforts. The Justice Department’s top election crimes prosecutor, Richard Pilger, resigned in protest.

Biden’s inauguration is on January 20.

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BBC Proms: PM says time to stop ‘cringing embarrassment’ about UK history | UK News

Boris Johnson has said it is time to stop “our cringing embarrassment” about UK history after the BBC’s Last Night Of The Proms was thrown into controversy.

Media reports had claimed the annual celebration of classical music was considering dropping “patriotic” songs Land Of Hope And Glory and Rule Britannia! due to their perceived association with colonialism and slavery.

“If it is correct… I think it’s time we stopped our cringing embarrassment about our history, about our traditions and about our culture, and we stop this general bout of self-recrimination and wetness,” Mr Johnson told reporters.

Revealing that he had been advised against speaking out on the matter, he added: “I wanted to get that off my chest.”

The Royal Albert Hall in London during the Last Night of The Proms

The broadcaster has now said orchestral versions of the songs will be performed and the event – which is going ahead without an audience – will include “familiar, patriotic elements”.

The Sunday Times initially reported the BBC had discussed dropping several traditional songs as Finnish conductor Dalia Stasevska was “keen to modernise the evening’s repertoire and reduce the patriotic elements”.

It said the BBC was “yet to agree” the final programme but was aware about the “ongoing debates over race equality” following recent Black Lives Matter protests.

The song Rule Britannia! includes the line: “Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves; Britons never, never, never, shall be slaves.”

Some senior politicians raised concerns about the reported change, with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden tweeting that he had raised concerns with the BBC.

Speaking on Sky News’ Kay Burley @ Breakfast programme, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said he would like to hear the lyrics sung.

Alok Sharma says he thinks lyrics should be sung at Last Night Of The Proms

‘BBC should put lyrics on screen so we can sing’

“I think what’s really important is, if you’re looking at this sort of stuff, is that you should be looking to tackle the substance of problems, rather than symbols,” he said.

“I think that’s a point the prime minister has made very well.”

Outgoing BBC director general Lord Hall said he backed the decision over the Proms – but suspected the lyrics would return at some point.

“The whole thing has been discussed by David (Pickard, the director) and his colleagues of course it has,” he told BBC Radio 4.

“The point is they’ve come to the right conclusion, which is it’s very, very hard in an Albert Hall that takes over 5,000 people to have the atmosphere of the Last Night Of The Proms.”

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