Zimbabwe ex-cricket skipper Taibu touches off George Floyd storm

Tatenda Taibu
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FORMER Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) Test captain Tatenda Taibu, who is never short of controversy, looks to have bitten more than he can chew, as his “misguided tweet” on the ongoing United States racial unrest touched off a social media storm that left him with egg on his face.

The now-retired 37-year-old shared his take on the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after Derek Chauvin — a white police officer — knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was handcuffed and lying on the tarmac.

Two other officers further restrained Floyd and a fourth officer prevented onlookers from intervening.

During the final three minutes, Floyd was motionless and had no pulse.

The officers are alleged to have made no attempt to revive him, all the while Chauvin’s knee remained on his neck even as emergency medical technicians attempted to resuscitate him.

Two autopsies have since determined the manner of Floyd’s death to be homicide, sparking massive protests and unrest throughout most of the United States, including solidarity marches around the world.

In response to this incident, Taibu wrote on his Twitter handle @taibu44: “America is in a mess. Now Americans want the street to be named after Floyd. My, my, my !!! What the policeman did was wrong. However, the story started with a fake bank note.

“Black or white, that is wrong too. There is a difference between a hero and a victim,” read the tweet.

The tweet, which at the time of print had 339 likes and 365 retweets, has been met by mostly negative comments that range from insults, indifference to plain bewilderment.

Local basketball outfit — Foxes — head coach Kelvin Ben simply wrote “Are you for real?” Others chose to shoot straight from the hip.

“Whatever you said after ‘however’ is rubbish. You should have stopped there,” said one @Tsungualice.

“Get your facts right. It turned out the $20 note wasn’t FAKE at all,” wrote @vumba200. “It is sad that you have sought after your faded relevance on this matter.

“The issue was concluded that bank note was not fake. A fellow black brother choosing a bill issue over a human life is so shocking and so pedestrian. A mediocre talent and a coward is what defines you,” wrote @mhembere.

The unrelenting flogging from the twitterati continued, as some pressed the former cricketer to prove his claims after it emerged that Floyd was not brandishing a fake bank note.

“Was it proved that it was fake? Did he deserve to be murdered? Try analysing cricket, but with such a shallow mindset you won’t go anywhere,” wrote @tinomabwe.

“Are you aware that it has since been proven that the bill was actually not fake?” wrote @rangamataire

“Taibu you are totally lost; the two issues are not related. Even if Floyd had transgressed, that doesn’t warrant the ill-treatment he received,” said @mangwiron.

There were those who fought from Taibu’s corner.

@nyashaneta chose to talk about Floyd’s alleged criminal history as justification for his callous murder.

“George Floyd was a criminal. A notorious criminal,” she said. He didn’t deserve to die & his family deserve justice. What are his victims thinking as they watch this? He held a gun on a black pregnant woman & robbed her. He held the gun to her pregnant belly. Jutting it. He isn’t a hero,’’ she said in her tweet.

Taibu, who appears obstinate and has since refused to delete the tweet, is no stranger to controversy, with the former Test skipper’s icy relationship with Zimbabwe Cricket serving as a bold point of reference. Among the many infamous incidents of Taibu’s career was his alleged assault of then Zimbabwe Cricket general finance manager Esther Lupepe in 2009.

While he was acquitted of all criminal charges, Taibu was slapped with a 10-match ban.

There were also a number of incidents when his opinions and personal views landed him in trouble, including when he clashed with the ZC leadership in 2011 during a tour with the Chevrons.

Back in the US, a lawyer for the slain Floyd told those that attended his memorial service that a “pandemic of racism” led to his death. Hundreds attended his tribute and stood in silence for eight minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Floyd was alleged to have been subdued by police in Minneapolis.

Civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton gave the eulogy.