Azeem Rafiq “deeply ashamed” by historical anti-Semitic messages


Azeem Rafiq has apologised and said he is “deeply ashamed” for using anti-Semitic language in messages from 2011.

Former spinner Rafiq has spoken of his experiences of racism and bullying at Yorkshire and appeared at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee this week.

The 30-year-old said he had “absolutely no excuses” for the messages.

“I am incredibly angry at myself and apologise to the Jewish community,” he said in a statement.

Rafiq said he had deleted the messages to not cause further offence.

“I have absolutely no excuses. I am ashamed of this exchange,” he said. “I was 19 at the time and hope and believe I am a different person today.”

Rafiq has spoken powerfully about his experiences of racist abuse when he played for Yorkshire in 2008-14 and 2016-18.

He first spoke out in September 2020, claiming “institutional racism” at Yorkshire left him close to taking his own life.

Yorkshire conducted an investigation that concluded Rafiq was the “victim of racial harassment and bullying” and apologised, but were heavily criticised for the way they handled Rafiq’s complaints.

The club also said no-one would face disciplinary action following the report.

Speaking to the DCMS committee on Tuesday, Rafiq described English cricket as “institutionally racist”, and that racist language was “constantly” used during his time at Yorkshire.

Former Yorkshire academy players Irfan Amjad and Tabassum Bhatti have also alleged they received racist abuse while at the club.

Essex are facing racism allegations and encouraging those who have experienced discrimination to come forward.

Earlier on Thursday, former Yorkshire and current Somerset bowler Jack Brooks “unreservedly apologised” for two tweets, sent in 2012, which contained racist language.

Brooks also apologised for calling India batter Cheteshwar Pujara ‘Steve’ when they were both at Yorkshire. (BBC Sport)

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