"And to be honest, it triggered me."
Former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq admitted that he was “triggered” by Amir Khan’s comments about Asian athletes.
At a news conference to mark his retirement, Khan said Asian athletes use racism as an excuse for not fulfilling their potential and that eating curry was “not the right diet to be a champion”.
Khan had said: “People used to say: ‘We are Muslim, we are Asian, we can’t make it in boxing. We’re not going to be picked’.
“It’s an excuse that all Asians use – that we’re never going to be picked.
“Look at football, for example. There are no Asian footballers but guess what they all say? ‘We won’t get picked because we’re Asian’.
“I think that’s a f***ing load of bull****, really. It’s a load of b*******. Asians, when we can’t to a certain extent, give up. We don’t have it in us.
“Look, us Asians are not really meant to be fighters. We’re not supposed to be good sportsmen and women.
“Our diet is appalling. It’s curries. It’s not the right diet to be a champion.
“If you put us against a lot of English fighters their diet is a lot better. They’re stronger than us.”
The comments caused controversy and now Azeem Rafiq has reacted.
Rafiq, who was a victim of “racial harassment and bullying” at Yorkshire Country Cricket Club, told Sky News:
“Khan’s comments reinforce lazy stereotypes about Asian athletes when there’s clear data out there to disprove that.
“It is particularly sad because it comes from someone who inspired entire communities to take up sport.
“And to be honest, it triggered me.
“I suffer daily, and I find life incredibly difficult as someone who has endured abuse.
“And according to Amir Khan, I’m just making an excuse.”
Meanwhile, equality groups called Khan’s comments “baffling”.
Arun Kang, chief executive of Sporting Equals, said:
“The sports sector has been working to become more anti-racist, progress is occurring but there is still a long way to go to undo systemic racism.
“It’s baffling and extremely frustrating as Amir has now further reinforced stereotypes the British South Asian community has long fought to diminish.
“Such misinformed and misguided comments have caused greater harm to the community.”