Sale Sharks (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
England and Sale wing Marland Yarde has condemned death threats received by some of his team-mates after a row erupted over their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Sale’s South African players have been criticised by their country’s sports minister Nathi Mthethwa for opting not to take a knee before the English Premiership matches against Harlequins and Exeter.
Only four of Sale’s starting line-up took a knee at the Harlequins match on 14 August, with five players doing so ahead of the clash with Exeter a week later.
Springbok World Cup winners Faf De Klerk and Lood De Jager were among those who did not.
England international Yarde, who was among a handful of Sale players to take a knee on both occasions, branded the threats “totally unacceptable”.
“I stand 100 percent for the Black Lives Matter movement and whole heartedly believe in the importance of highlighting the continuous battle that we face in society everyday and the need for a change,” the 28-year-old posted on Instagram and Twitter.
“I have to also stand against death threats against my teammates which is totally unacceptable. This behaviour will not make the world a better place. We are united we are a team.”
Premiership Rugby has allowed clubs and players decide their own ways of supporting the campaign.
Sale players did appear in ‘Rugby against Racism’ T-shirts before both games and, speaking after the Harlequins match, Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond said: “I think it’ll be a storm in a tea cup.
“We all wore the rugby against racism T-shirts, which we thought was important, but I don’t think it’s too much to worry about if I’m honest.”
England forward Billy Vunipola said he did not take the knee before Saracens’ game with Bristol last week because of his Christian faith.