Cricket racism whistleblower Azeem Rafiq apologises for derogatory ‘Jew’ remarks
Former professional cricketer Azeem Rafiq has said he is “deeply ashamed” for using antisemitic language in recently resurfaced Facebook messages from 2011, days after sharing his own experience of “institutional racism” to the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport parliamentary committee.
Rafiq wept as he recounted racist abuse and bullying that he suffered at England’s most successful cricket club with his testimony sending shockwaves through British sport.
On Thursday, however, The Times revealed a private Facebook exchange between fellow cricketer Ateeq Javid, and the then 19-year-old Rafiq, in which they accused a third-player of being reluctant to spend money at a team dinner because “he is a Jew”.
Rafiq added: “he would “probs go after my 2nds [second helping of food] again ha”, and: “Only Jews do tht [sic] sort of shit.”
Rafiq apologised immediately for his historical remarks saying “I have absolutely no excuses. I am ashamed of this exchange… and believe I am a different person today”.
At no point will I ever try and defend the indefensible— Azeem Rafiq (@AzeemRafiq30) November 18, 2021
For those I have hurt I am sincerely sorry
I will continue to front up & own any more mistakes I have made
His apology was accepted by Claudia Mendoza, co-chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council who wrote on twitter that the revelations were “awkward” for Rafiq but acknowledged he had “taken full ownership of the situation”.
Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews also welcomed Rafiq’s apology noting that it “certainly seems heartfelt and we have no reason to believe he is not completely sincere”.
Rafiq, a Muslim, was widely praised for giving a disturbing account of the racism he suffered during two spells with Yorkshire to a parliamentary committee on Tuesday having previously said the abuse had led him to contemplate taking his own life.
Rafiq, who said he had repeatedly been called a "Paki", told the parliamentary committee: "Do I believe I lost my career to racism? Yes, I do."
On Monday, current England spinner Adil Rashid joined ex-Pakistan Test player Rana Naved-ul-Hasan in alleging that former England captain Michael Vaughan had said in front of a group of Yorkshire players of Asian ethnicity in 2009: "Too many of you lot, we need to do something about it."