Screenshots of Bangladesh speed Tanzim Hasan Sakib’s sexist social media posts went public four days ago. Yesterday, the Bangladesh Cricket Board met with the media, but all they could do was apologize for the player.
As of late last night, Tanzim had not directly apologized for the posts that called into question at least half of the country’s population’s right to work and freedom.
During yesterday’s press meeting, BCB Cricket Operations Committee Chairman Jalal Yunus said things that made people wonder if the sport’s national governing body really knew how bad Tanzim’s posts were and how big of a problem they were.
“About the posts about women, he [Tanzim] said, ‘I take blame for this’… He said, “My mother is a woman, so I can’t be sexist.”
Jalal was repeating what Tanzim was said to have said about the posts during a “discussion” with BCB officers.
The head of cricket operations said that Tanzim told them he didn’t make the posts to hurt anyone and that if they did, “he was sorry for that.”
He also said that they would keep an eye on what Tanzim did from now on and had warned him. In that, it was implied that there had been no tracking of a young bowler’s social media activity up to that point. This was a cricketer who joined the BCB at a young age.
In September 2022, Tanzim said in a Facebook post that women who worked for money took away the rights of their husbands and children and were bad for the family and society as a whole.
In a post from more recently, he said that if a man married a woman who was used to “free mixing” addas, he would be robbing his kids of a good mother.
These were the two posts that went popular after Tanzim, who won the Under-19 World Cup in 2019, bowled so well in his first ODI that it helped Pakistan beat India in a replacement game in the Asia Cup on Friday.
He has taken down both posts, but not before he got hundreds of comments from people who agreed with him and supported him. So, a national bowler may have affected many other people to think in a way that he has now said he is sorry for, according to the BCB.
The BCB signed the International Cricket Council’s anti-discrimination policy, which says that all of its members should “never offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage, vilify, or unlawfully discriminate between persons based on their race, religion, culture, color, descent, nationality, ethnic origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, and/or maternity status.”
The cricket board also has a set of rules that players who are paid to play must follow. Even though Tanzim is not on that list yet, a BCB official who asked to remain anonymous said that a player is subject to the code of conduct once he or she plays for the national cricket team.
The BCB employee said that this code of conduct tells him how to deal with the media and what he can and cannot say in public.
But it looks like the BCB doesn’t think his mistakes should lead to a public apology or any other kind of official punishment. Jalal said that if Tanzim did something like this again, they would have to do something.
“He said he felt bad. He said he wouldn’t make these kinds of posts again,” Jalal said. “Since he realized he was wrong, he said something very important: he is not a sexist. He said, “My mother is a woman; I can’t be a misogynist because of that.”
Tanzim’s rise to fame and national popularity seems to have made people pay more attention to what he was doing, and the BCB didn’t do anything about it until that attention caused an uproar that wouldn’t go away.
The fact that they then decided, not once but twice, to repeat one of the most obviously false defenses against the charge of sexism, which is that one can’t hate women because their mother is a woman (as if there are exceptions to that fact), does a harm to both women and Tanzim.
Tanzim’s racist speech can be lessened by the fact that he is only 20 years old and has not yet grown up enough to be immune to bigoted ideas.
But what about the smart old heads who seem to be in the BCB? Since they took care of him when he was a young kid with a lot of potential, have they taught him anything?
Both men and women play cricket in the games that Jalal is in charge of. By making excuses for Tanzim, what kind of message is he giving to the women players, who may have done more for the country than the men?
Yesterday, the BCB had a chance to make a strong statement against racism and sexism.
They could have easily pointed out that Tanzim was wrong because he lives and works in a country that gets a lot of its foreign currency from the RMG sector, where most of the workers are women. This is a country that is proud of empowering women and has been led by women for the past 32 years.
They could have asked Tanzim to apologize in public on the site where his posts had similar sexist undertones.
The ruling group could have also said something about how he is a good example, so the “freedom of speech” claim doesn’t work. Tanzim has more to think about than the average social media user because he is a national bowler and has a blue check next to his name.
Mehedi Hasan Miraz, a more experienced national player, showed that the BCB’s policy and code of behavior are not helping the athletes or the country as a whole. The all-rounder has been on the national team for the last seven years. Yesterday evening, he wrote a post on Facebook defending Tanzim, but he deleted it soon after.
If Mehedi, who has played in 146 games and is thought about as a possible leader, doesn’t know not to stir up emotions on social media, what hope was there for Tanzim and other players with less experience?
There is an example of what to do in this kind of situation. Ollie Robinson took seven wickets in his first Test for England in 2021. He was banned for eight games after racist and sexist Tweets from 2009 were found. By doing this, the England and Wales Cricket Board sent a strong word that hate speech is not okay and will not be tolerated.
Yesterday, the BCB missed that chance. Instead, they decided to talk about how misogynists can’t be born from moms.
That is mostly correct. Misogynists are not born, they are made by the problems in society and the disinterest of those in power. Unfortunately, the BCB yesterday did its part to make this happen.