“We wonder why people don’t come forward."
Cricketer Azeem Rafiq has said that he continues to receive abuse for speaking out about the racism and bullying he was subjected to during his two spells at Yorkshire.
Yorkshire’s handling of an investigation into the allegations have been heavily criticised.
As a result, the club’s hierarchy has been called to appear before a parliamentary committee on November 16, 2021.
The club will hold an unscheduled board meeting on November 5, 2021, to talk about the fallout.
On November 3, 2021, Gary Ballance admitted he had made racial slurs towards Rafiq when they were teammates at the club.
In a statement, Ballance claimed he had once enjoyed a deep friendship with Rafiq but that both men “said things privately to each other which were not acceptable”.
He offered remorse for his part in those exchanges.
The independent panel looked at 43 allegations from Rafiq.
But it deemed those racial slurs from Ballance were delivered “in the spirit of friendly banter” and did not uphold that allegation.
The conclusion was condemned by politicians and campaign groups.
Azeem Rafiq has now said that despite speaking out, he continues to be criticised.
He said: “We wonder why people don’t come forward.
“Even after everything that is out there, there seems to be personal attacks coming. What a sad state of affairs.”
Later in November, Rafiq will appear before MP’s on the digital, culture, media and sport committee.
In an earlier tweet, Rafiq wrote:
“I wanted to stress this is not really about the words of certain individuals.
“This is about institutional racism and abject failures to act by numerous leaders at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and in the wider game.
“The sport I love and my club desperately needs reform and cultural change.”
In September 2021, Yorkshire CCC published a summary of its findings of the report. However, it has been criticised for failing to release the entire report.
Although county chairman Roger Hutton said at a time there was “no question” Rafiq had been the victim of racial harassment and bullying over the course of two spells at Yorkshire, the club announced that no individual would face disciplinary action as a consequence.
Yorkshire shirt sponsor Anchor Butter severed ties with the club over their handling of the matter while Emerald Group Publishing has withdrawn its naming rights of Headingley Stadium among other tie-ins with the team.
Yorkshire Tea has dissolved its association with immediate effect and Tetley’s Beer has confirmed it will back out at the end of its current deal.
In a tweet, finance and cricket journalist Isabelle Westbury suggested that “it [might] be more constructive to see high-profile sponsors of Yorkshire agreeing to stay on a number of strict conditions”.
In response, Azeem Rafiq said:
“Respect you and where you are coming from but [the sponsors] have stood by the club for 14 months hoping they would do the right thing but the club and its leaders are just not interested.
“They still don’t think anything wrong has happened.”
Former England captain Nasser Hussain expressed his fears that the scandal will send a message to players in Yorkshire’s academy that racial discrimination can be passed off as banter.
Hussain said: “They messed it up first time when it actually happened because no one had the guts to stand up and say: ‘No, we are not doing that in this dressing room’.
“They next messed it up for years after that by not picking out people who used that terminology and they are still messing it up now when they had the option to say: ‘We have changed, we will not accept this sort of behaviour’.
“So they continue to mess it up.
“Almost by Yorkshire saying it is just banter, they are sending a message through all their age groups that it is OK to say ‘you lot’ and ‘that corner shop must belong to your uncle’ and things like that.
“They are sending a message that this sort of mickey-taking is absolutely fine and it’s not.”