New Zealand cricketer Scott Kuggeleijn's participation in the ongoing T20I series against India is making headlines for all the wrong reasons, with spectators at Wellington and Eden Park holding up posters in protest pertaining to charges of rape that had been levelled against him in the past.
According to ESPNCricinfo, one poster at Auckland's Eden Park — where India pulled off a series-levelling seven-wicket victory on Friday — read "Wake up, NZ Cricket, #MeToo" in reference to an ongoing movement against sexual harassment and consent.
There was a similar placard held up at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Wednesday, where the first match of the series took place, which read, "No means no". However, it was controversially taken down by stadium officials, which invited a lot of criticism for New Zealand Cricket (NZC) in the aftermath, with the board even agreeing later that the move was unnecessary.
"We agree the course taken was an over-reaction and unnecessary, and the sign certainly wasn't offensive," NZC public affairs manager Richard Boock was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz.
The all-rounder, son of former Test cricketer Chris Kuggeleijn, had been charged with rape in 2015, with trials subsequently taking place in 2016 and 2017. While the jury on the first occasion were left undecided on the matter, the second one, in a verdict on February 2017 at the Hamilton District Court, declared him 'Not Guilty'.
Kuggeleijn had admitted that the victim had told him twice that she didn't intend to have physical relations with him during the incident.
The third T20I between the two sides takes place at Hamilton's Seddon Park on Sunday.