I lost career to racism, Rafiq tells UK lawmakers

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I lost career to racism, Rafiq tells UK lawmakers

Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq is seen in a video clip taken from the footage aired by the UK Parliament’s Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) holding back tears as he testifies before the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) Committee in London on Tuesday. LONDON: Azeem Rafiq, a former Yorkshire cricketer, fought back tears on Tuesday as he spoke before British legislators about how racism cost him his career and provided persuasive evidence of pervasive prejudice in the English game.

The county club will not sanction anyone, according to an independent study, despite the Pakistan-born athlete being a victim of “racial abuse and bullying” while playing for the club. This decision was met with great scepticism.

Yorkshire has suffered terrible consequences as a result of the scandal, including a large departure of sponsors, resignations of key executives, and a ban on hosting lucrative international matches.

Rafiq had the opportunity to testify before the select committee hearing on digital, culture, media, and sport on Tuesday under the parliamentary privilege, which he used to describe his terrifying experiences. The 30-year-old stated, “At times, I felt alone and ashamed.” “Early on, remarks like “you’ll sit over there by the toilets” and “elephant-washers” were made to me and other Asian-Americans.

“The term “Paki” was often used. Additionally, it appeared as though the institution’s leaders accepted it, and nobody ever put an end to it.

The off-spinner, who had declared he had an ambition of playing for England, claimed systemic prejudice plagued cricket “up and down the country.”

Muslim Rafiq also recalled a terrifying incident in which he was “tied down” and made to consume alcohol when he was 15 years old and attending his local cricket club.

And in a very emotional section of his testimony that lasted over an hour, he told about the “inhuman” treatment he received from Yorkshire when his baby was stillborn in 2017.

He continued, his voice breaking, “They weren’t really upset about the fact that I was at training one day and I got a phone call to say there’s no heartbeat.

Rafiq, who played for the club twice, said: “Do I think racism cost me my career? I do, indeed.

In addition, he specifically named a few former squad members while describing how former England internationals Matthew Hoggard and Gary Ballance—the latter of whom is currently playing for Yorkshire—used racist insults against him.

He added that Gary had an extremely disparaging way of referring to people of colour as “Kevin.” “In the England locker room, it was an open secret.”

Hoggard, the 2005 Ashes champion, allegedly called Rafiq to apologise for his remarks.

He said that he thought it was “hurtful” that Yorkshire player Joe Root, the England Test captain, had never seen anything racist happen at the Headingley-based club.

“Rooty is a kind guy. He never used racist rhetoric, according to Rafiq.

Because Rooty lived with Gary [Ballance] and participated in a lot of the socialising when I was branded a “Paki,” I felt it to be upsetting.

On Monday, current England spinner Adil Rashid joined former Pakistan Test player Rana Naved-ul-Hasan in claiming that former England captain Michael Vaughan had stated, “Too many of you bunch, we need to do something about it,” in front of a group of Asian-American Yorkshire players in 2009.

Vaughan has vehemently refuted making the remark.

When asked about Vaughan, Rafiq responded, “Three of us, Adil, myself, and Rana, recall it. Michael might not.

Rafiq gave the England and Wales Cricket Board’s diversity initiatives a critical review, calling them instances of “box-ticking” and “tokenism.”

Tom Harrison, the chairman of the ECB, said that his organisation had let Rafiq down when under rigorous questioning from the MPs, adding that combating racism in sports will be a top focus.

We’ll have it fixed quickly, he said. “We are aware that it is crucial to the future of our sport. This game will change extremely soon. However, committee chairman Julian Knight cautioned the ECB that it had a difficult task on its hands because other players from Yorkshire and other teams had also come forward with claims of racism. Knight said Rafiq had provided “harrowing personal testimony.”

Knight stated that if cricket’s damaged reputation in this country is to be repaired, “the ECB failed to take decisive action at the beginning and it is apparent that there is much work for it to do as a national governing body and a regulator.”

The data is “concerning,” according to the official spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who also emphasised that racism has no place in sports.

In every aspect of society, racism has no place.