Redemption in and through sport is a powerful thing.
Mistakes on or off the field will send a player into a fall from grace that can go so low you wonder just how they will return from their hell.
But sometimes they rise again and regain their once-exalted place.
Sometimes, others will give them enough faith to make up for their mistakes.
And sometimes, they can just be damned for eternity.
Sport is full of these stories.
The first time I came to understand this was back in the 1994 World Cup in the USA.
I remember the tragic story of Colombia defender Andres Escobar.
Escobar scored an own goal that ultimately eliminated his team at the group stages and he never got the chance to make up for it when he was gunned down for his mistake on his return home.
There was Diego Maradona, who, after being banned from football for cocaine use, was recalled to the Argentina side.
And after scoring a glorious goal against Greece in his first game back, El Diego looked as if he had found his way back to the top of the game.
But days later, he tested positive for ephedrine and that turned out to be his last goal for Albiceleste.
Then the most famous of the 1994 stories – Roberto Baggio’s penalty shootout miss in the World Cup final against Brazil.
The Italian – the world’s best player at the time – skied his spotkick, handing the trophy to Romario and company.
His redemption arch saw him left out of the team for a long time until the last game of World Cup qualification for France 1998 and he went on to score from the spot to tie up their group-stage game with Chile.
They are pretty powerful moments. But while some manne have the will to come back and are given the opportunity to do so, it’s not for everyone.
This week, we saw two more manne fall from grace – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Quinton de Kock.
The Manchester United boss’s downfall has been coming for a while now and his 5-0 drubbing by Liverpool had been written on the wall with his clueless tactics and strange selections.
Defender Luke Shaw said “we could all see it coming”.
And while that for me is a player acknowledging that United are going nowhere slowly with Ole at the wheel, the Norwegian’s bosses believe that he deserves his shot at redemption.
It’s a lot of faith to put into a man who has been handed the players he wants and has failed to deliver a trophy in three years in charge.
With hopes of a Premier League title push already gone, upcoming clashes against contenders Manchester City and Chelsea just looks like further condemnation from here.
Let’s face it. Ole is a dead man walking.
His bosses might have faith in him, but the fans don’t think he is that man and his players know that they are not good enough under him.
Then we have De Kock.
His statement on Thursday was a massive 180-degree flip for South Africa and the world.
Tuesday’s decision not to join his teammates in “taking the knee” in a uniform gesture against racism and refuse to play was met with strong condemnation from everywhere.
Well almost everywhere. His decision not to take the knee was celebrated by people who make dubious claims about “freedom of choice”.
Make no mistake, De Kock’s failure to take a stand with his teammates was cheered on by people who do not want our society to heal from racial divisions.
But his apology on Wednesday was from the heart.
His captain Temba Bavuma and, by extension, the team have given him the grace to stand his ground.
And through that De Kock is redeemed.
Coming from a mixed-race family, I somehow feel that he could have been the poster boy of the team.
But like we’ve seen before with his captaincy, he is not the man for the spotlight.
However, I think he could have done some good.
Look at the role Siya Kolisi plays as Springbok captain.
He is a man who takes all of that on his shoulders for the good of the nation and his team are world champions.
Meanwhile, the Proteas are a mess.
He must have been aware that he is representing a nation with a troubled racial past.
He must have been that Cricket SA is going through its own racial reckoning with the Social Justice and Nation Building Hearings.
He must have been aware that racial tensions are always below the surface in South Africa.
He must have been aware that some of his teammates have been disadvantaged by that legacy and feel strongly about all these things.
Some people, like Escobar, never get their shot at redemption.
Some waste it like Maradona.
But like Baggio, it takes falling, humbling yourself to your team and people, before you can be redeemed.
So rise up Quinton. And help this team and this nation heal.
Now that’s all out of the way, let’s get back to the cricket. We have a World Cup to win.