Azeem Rafiq: “I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offence. I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today.”
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 18/11/21 4:46pm
Azeem Rafiq has apologised for making antisemitic comments in a message exchange with another cricketer in 2011.
The ex-Yorkshire player, who has been the principal whistleblower in the ongoing scrutiny of racism in the English game, admitted making the remarks after evidence was revealed by The Times on Thursday.
Rafiq said he was “ashamed of this exchange” while saying sorry to the Jewish community “and everyone who is rightly offended by this” but insists he is a different person today.
Rafiq said: “I was sent an image of this exchange from early 2011 today (Thursday). I have gone back to check my account and it is me. I have absolutely no excuses.
“I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offence. I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today.
“I am incredibly angry at myself and I apologise to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this.”
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DCMS Committee Chair Julian Knight MP believes the governance in the game must be reformed, following Azeem Rafiq’s emotional testimony about his experiences of racism at Yorkshire.
The Times included a screen capture of the message exchange between Rafiq and the former Leicestershire cricketer Ateeq Javid, and reported that its “sources believe they are discussing another Asian cricketer, at the time playing for Derbyshire, whom they seem to accuse of being reluctant to spend money on a meal out”.
While giving evidence to the DCMS select committee hearing into racism at Yorkshire CCC on Tuesday, an emotional Rafiq insisted “racism is not banter” but also conceded he “wasn’t perfect” himself during his career.