Perth removes banner with Usman Khawaja’s banned shoe slogans being repeated.

A security team took down a banner displaying the same messages written on Usman Khawaja’s shoes during the first Test between Australia and Pakistan at Optus Stadium.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) prohibited Khawaja from wearing shoes with the inscriptions “all lives are equal” and “freedom is a human right” on the field before the match.

In response to the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the experienced opener wanted to convey these messages. Instead, he wore a black arm band and covered the writings on his shoes with tape.

On Sunday, a spectator who had a banner with the same words caught security’s attention in Perth. The banner, measuring over five meters long, was hung over the railing on the fifth level of the southern end of the venue.

The spectator further drew attention by chanting pro-Palestine slogans. Security quickly removed the banner and escorted the individual out of the stadium. Other people were also removed from the venue.

“A sign was removed because it violated Cricket Australia’s terms and conditions of entry,” stated Optus Stadium. “Some spectators were removed due to antisocial behavior, not because of the sign.”

Last summer, security also took down a banner reading “Justice for JL” during Australia’s Test match against West Indies at Optus Stadium. Young fans had displayed the banner in support of Justin Langer, who resigned as Australia coach after being offered only a six-month contract extension.

Given the significant loss of lives in the Middle East, this situation is more serious. Prior to the Test against Pakistan, Khawaja took to social media to explain why he chose to raise awareness about the innocent loss of lives.

“This is a cause that deeply affects me,” Khawaja expressed on social media. “When I see countless innocent children dying without any consequences or remorse, I think of my two daughters. What if it happened to them? Nobody chooses where they are born.”

Todd Greenberg, the CEO of the Australian Cricketers’ Association, commended Khawaja for handling the controversy surrounding his shoes in a professional and mature manner. Greenberg stated that the association would support Khawaja’s efforts to gain ICC approval to wear the shoes in future matches.

“I sense that some people in society want athletes and prominent figures to express opinions, but only when those opinions align with their own,” Greenberg shared with SEN. “Personally, I believe it’s better to have authentic individuals like Uzzie. If he wants to champion a particular cause, then we’ll stand by him. We want our athletes to be heroes, people to admire. To achieve that, they need to be authentic and consistent, not just on easy matters, but perhaps more importantly on the challenging ones.”

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