Azeem Rafiq fought back tears while testifying to MPs on the Yorkshire County Cricket Club racism scandal
Mr Rafiq fought back tears as he made a number of horrific allegations of racism at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, including players with Asian backgrounds who were instructed to sit in the locker room near the toilets and referred to as “elephant washing machines”.
Former Yorkshire cricket star Azeem Rafiq said the racist libel “p ***” was used “constantly” against himself and others at the club and was never questioned.
He made the allegations this morning during a hearing before the Special Committee on Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the Houses of Parliament.
The former weirdo had the parliamentary privilege of the hearing, which meant that he could name certain incidents and people without fear of legal consequences.
In a social media post last night, Mr Rafiq had promised that the hearing would be a “time of truths”. He has long accused the club of being “institutionally racist” and made a number of allegations against staff and players.
Mr Rafiq told MPs that racist and derogatory slurs were used in the club and that he had taken medication for his mental health. He had previously said he was considering killing himself.
“Pretty early on, me and other people with Asian backgrounds … there were comments like, ‘You’re over there by the toilets,’ ‘Elephant washing machines,'” he said. “The word P *** was used all the time. And there just seemed to be an acceptance in the institution from the leaders, and no one has ever stamped it out. “
The star collapsed several times when he testified, including discussing the club’s alleged lack of support when he lost his unborn child. The committee was adjourned briefly to give it a break.
Mr. Rafiq said that when he left the club he “left the country, went to Pakistan and never wanted to return”.
Speaking to the committee, Mr. Rafiq accused Gary Ballance of calling all players of the color “Kevin” and of naming his dog Kevin because his fur was black.
He also claimed that at the age of 15 he was arrested by a Yorkshire player who poured red wine into his mouth. Mr. Rafiq said he started drinking later in 2012 to “fit in”.
When asked why he returned to the club after a while, Rafiq said he “really has no other option” because of having to take care of his family and also said that he “denies” much of his experiences.
“As a person of color, accepting that you are treated differently because of your race or religion is actually quite a difficult thing,” he said.
He said he now doesn’t want his son “going anywhere near cricket”.
Mr Rafiq said he had “made it clear” to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that he was struggling with his mental health and was suicidal, but had received little help. He also said the Professional Cricketers’ Association’s response was “awkward”.
The star said the club’s top executives couldn’t claim to be ignorant of the allegations as he “clarified it in as much detail as possible”.
“I think we need to get away from making excuses for these people,” he said. “I just don’t think the game wants to listen.”
He said his cricketer Matthew Hoggard apologized to him after an interview about the allegations and said he did not see the effect of his words.
“All I’ve ever wanted is an acceptance and an apology and let’s make sure my kids are safe and I can let my kids play cricket,” he said.
The star said he had received messages from players in Leicester, Middlesex and Nottinghamshire describing similar experiences.
“I’ve got messages from some,” he said. “Obviously, some people are still pretty scared to talk about it. Some still say, should I have called it out? Is it racism? I do not know. The only repetition is that p *** has been used a lot. “
Mr Rafiq said he wanted to “help the young guys” who come into play and force the institutions to change.
He said the alleged racism was repeated “without the slightest doubt” in other clubs across the country.
“I think cricket and professional sports in general are a lot worse than society,” he said.
He said Britain missed “a hell of a lot of talent” and “better representation of the country” because players of color were kept away from the sport.