Sale Sharks winger Marland Yarde has revealed that some of his teammates received death threats last week following the team’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement.


Ahead of Sale’s fixture with Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership’s opening round of action since the season was suspended in March, eleven members of the Sharks’ starting XV opted not to take a knee, whereupon the situation has spiraled out of control.

While Sale’s director of rugby Steve Diamond more or less saw this as a nonevent, it evoked a reaction from South Africa’s Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, and also the trade union Solidarity, as eight of the eleven players were South African.

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Now Yarde has revealed the harrowing turn of events whereby his teammates have received death threats, though not divulging who those players are.

While the England international said he stands for the BLM movement, he obviously condemned the reaction that his teammates have faced. He said on Twitter:

“I stand 100% for the Black Lives Matter movement and wholeheartedly believe in the importance of highlighting the continuous battle that we face in society everyday and the need for a change. 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!!”


South African players are not the only ones that have opted to not take a knee since rugby has returned, and some have revealed the rationale behind their decisions. All players from Sale have opted to wear Rugby Against Racism t-shirts, however, before matches.

Despite Diamond’s efforts to downplay the situation after the Harlequins match, this is a saga that has perhaps turned out to be more significant than he, and anyone else, could have anticipated.

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