Temba Bavuma says South Africa players were "taken aback" that Quinton de Kock refused an order to take the knee and made himself unavailable to face West Indies in the T20 World Cup.
The Cricket South Africa (CSA) board on Monday decided that all players must take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.
De Kock has previously declined to make the gesture and opted not to play against the Windies at Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday following the demand from CSA.
Proteas captain Bavuma revealed he was only told wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock would be absent for the eight-wicket victory over the defending champions in the changing room beforehand and was surprised by his decision.
The batsman is unsure whether former captain De Kock will play any further part in the tournament.
He said in a news conference: "I think obviously as a team we're obviously surprised and taken aback by the news.
"Obviously Quinton is a big player for the team, not just with the bat, but the role he plays from a senior point of view and from an experience point of view, and not having that at my disposal as a captain was obviously something I wasn't looking forward to.
"In saying that, Quinton is an adult. He's a man in his own shoes. We respect his decision. We respect his convictions. I know that he'll be standing behind whatever decision that he's taken.
"From the team's point of view, unfortunately we still have to get the job done. There was still a game of cricket there for our country, and it was important, as much as everything was happening, that we found a way to get into the right mental space and take it home for our country.
"I don't know how far it's going to develop. I mean, the decision that he's taken is only today, so I can only speak about what has happened today. It wouldn't be my decision whether to replace Quinton or to get a substitute. That would be probably the coach and the selectors.
"But as far as we stand, Quinton is still one of the players. He's still one of the boys, so whatever support that he needs, whatever shoulder that he requires from his team-mates, we'll be there for him.
"If there's a need for further conversations to be had, I'm sure those will definitely happen amongst the guys."