Azeem Rafiq has exposed the racism scandal that has engulfed both Yorkshire and England cricket during an emotional appearance in front of a parliamentary select committee on Tuesday.
The former Yorkshire spin-bowler, who moved to the UK from Pakistan at age 10, has been giving evidence to MPs this week following claims that he experienced racism, harassment and bullying during two separate spells with the club.
A report confirmed that Rafiq was indeed victim of 'racial harassment and bullying', though Yorkshire insisted last month that it would not be taking disciplinary action against any member of staff mentioned in the report until investigative proceedings had been completed.
In response, Rafiq claimed the club was more interested in protecting its own reputation than addressing allegations of racism.
On Tuesday, the 30-year-old claimed that legendary Sky Sports commentator David Lloyd, also known as 'Bumble', took part in a cover-up operation, and attempted to smear Rafiq by suggesting he has a problem with drinking and partying.
"It’s clear the problem is there. Everyone’s known it for a very long time. I think it’s been an open secret. As I’ve seen over the last 15 months, if you speak out your life is going to be made hell – and there’s no doubt my life [has been made hell]," Rafiq said.
"I sat in front of national TV and talked about the dark places this whole episode has got me into and what’s happened since then? Denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing.
"High-profile media people messaging other members of the media who supported me saying stuff like, 'The club houses are the life blood of a club and Asian players don’t go in there', 'Getting subs out of Asian players is like getting blood out of stone'.
"And then personally this guy doesn’t even know me, has never spent any time with me, is talking about my personal drinking, going out and socialising.
"That was David Lloyd, he’s been an England coach, commentator, and I found it disturbing because Sky are supposedly doing this amazing work on bringing racism to the front and within a week of me speaking out that’s what I got sent to me.
"And I thought, 'Gosh, there’s some closet racists and we need to do something about it'."
Rafiq also implicated England international Alex Hales, claiming the 32-year-old named his black dog 'Kevin' – a name allegedly used in the England dressing room to describe any person of colour.
"Kevin was something Gary [Ballance] used to describe anyone of colour in a very derogatory manner. It was an open secret in the England dressing room," Rafiq explained.
"Anyone who came across Gary would know that was a phrase he would use to describe people of colour.
"Gary and Alex Hales got really close to each other when they played for England together. I wasn’t present in that dressing room, but what I understand is that Alex went on to name his dog Kevin because it was black. It’s disgusting how much of a joke it was."
Source: Read Full Article