Azeem Rafiq says the cricket racism scandal will open the floodgates for others to speak up while they’ve been involved in the sport
Azeem Rafiq believes the “floodgates” will open to the cricket racism crisis the day after he gave a damning testimony of the abuse and bullying he suffered while in Yorkshire.
Rafiq told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday that this included having red wine poured down his throat when he was 15 and the constant use of racist language throughout his two terms in the county.
There have been allegations of racism in Essex last week while Nottinghamshire, Middlesex and Leicestershire were also named during the DCMS hearing, and Rafiq believes more stories across other counties will emerge in the coming days.
“I don’t think I still realize how much it resonated with so many people. We have to make sure it’s not about me and it’s how we listen now, ”said Rafiq Sky Sports.
“I feel like there is going to be a bit of flooding now and there will be a lot of abuse victims coming in, and we need to listen to them, hear them, support them and work out a plan to make sure that doesn’t happen. won’t happen again.
“I think you will get it [complaints] in the hundreds and thousands, possibly, and I think it’s the way they handle it. We came here because Yorkshire handled it.
“Yes what happened was totally unacceptable, but the way they handled it made it a lot bigger and showed them what they are. So it depends on how the game and each district handle it.
“I think the ECB also realized they screwed it up and they won’t let another episode like this one happen.”
Rafiq’s allegations named a number of high profile figures including former English players Michael Vaughan, Tim Bresnan and Gary Ballance, as well as current Yorkshire head coach Andrew Gale and cricket director Martyn Moxon.
Former Yorkshire and England bowler Matthew Hoggard has already called Rafiq to apologize, but no one in the county has contacted him.
Rafiq believes Moxon and Gale’s positions are untenable but there may be a way back for Ballance.
“You need to hear from me about the impact your behavior has had on me, and I would like to hear from you why – why you thought it was okay. But it’s important that we don’t go to individuals and think about the institution because these guys came to this place and were shaped by the culture and the environment, ”he said.
“I don’t think Martyn and Andrew can do that [continue in their roles]. I think Gary – if he apologizes properly and has some kind of acceptance and responsibility – he should be allowed to play.
“But as for Andrew and Martyn, I don’t think it’s possible for Yorkshire to continue with them, even though they know exactly what role they played in that institution.”
English captain Joe Root was also mentioned at Tuesday’s hearing after denying ever hearing racist language in Yorkshire, including from his former roommate Ballance.
Cricketer’s George Dobell believes Rafiq’s testimony will encourage others with similar experiences to speak up
Rafiq reiterated that Root was never part of an abuse, but said it was now part of the problem not to extol such behavior.
“Rooty is a good man, but it just shows how bad this institution and environment was, that even a good man like him didn’t see it, didn’t see it right, probably stop it, and probably don’t remember it because it won’t mean anything to him, ”said Rafiq.
“The viewers – from now on – if you continue to be just a viewer, you are just as much of a problem as the guys who are the perpetrators.”
PCA has a “constructive conversation” with Rafiq
The Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA), the body representing former and current top cricketers in England and Wales, said it had a “constructive conversation” with Rafiq on Wednesday.
The PCA says it will continue these discussions over the coming weeks.
“He has agreed to meet in person over the coming weeks to discuss how the PCA and wider professional sport can learn from his experience,” said a PCA statement.
“We believe that listening and learning from the likes of Azeem is vital to making the game a fully inclusive and welcoming environment for every player.”
More than 1,000 people have now turned to an investigation into discrimination in cricket in the past week.
The Independent Commission for Justice in Cricket (ICEC) launched a call for evidence on November 9th calling on individuals to share their experiences of discrimination in sport.
“Since part one of our Call for Evidence started last week, over a thousand people have volunteered to share their experiences,” said Cindy Butts, Chair of the ICEC.
“It’s critical that the people throughout the game, many of whom are likely inspired by Azeem’s bravery, have a chance to be heard. As an independent body established to examine the state of justice in cricket, we will go where the evidence takes us.
“We continue to urge anyone who has experienced discrimination to heed our call for evidence.”
Hales Denies Rafiq’s Claims About Dog Name “Kevin”
Nottinghamshire says they started an “internal process” after Rafiq alleged that Alex Hales gave a dog a racist name as part of a “joke” which he had with Ballance.
Rafiq accused Ballance of referring to “People of Color” as “Kevin,” adding that Hales gave his dog – who was black – the same name after getting close to Ballance during her time with England.
Hales has denied the allegations and said he will “cooperate in any investigation”.
“After hearing the allegations made against me, I categorically and absolutely deny that my dog’s naming had a racist connotation,” Hales said in a statement.
“I respect Azeem Rafiq’s demeanor and what he endured, and I have great compassion. His evidence was staggering.
“In cricket there is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind and I will gladly cooperate with any investigation that the gaming authorities conduct.
“Neither I nor my representatives will make further comments on this matter.”
Speaking to the DCMS selection committee, Rafiq also said he was contacted by at least one person who played for Nottinghamshire and who suffered racism while there.
In response, Nottinghamshire said it “remains committed to making cricket welcoming and accessible to all in our county at every level”.
The club added, “We have always tried and will continue to create positive and fulfilling cricket experiences for people from all backgrounds.
“We recognize that, given the experiences shared in the wider game recently, individuals may not have felt comfortable expressing their concerns about the past.
“We encourage anyone wishing to raise concerns or discuss their experience to come forward and speak freely, either directly with the club or through the ICEC’s recent call for evidence. It is important that individuals do this so that they can learn the game of cricket and move forward together.
“Should anyone want to raise a concern, we have processes and guidelines in place to resolve any issues that may arise. Everyone who answers will be treated with the greatest respect and confidentiality. ”