Azeem Rafiq shares how racism was evident in Yorkshire and how it had led him on a brink of suicide at some point.
Azeem Rafiq is a former English U19 player and Yorkshire captain speaks up about how he had dealt with heavy racism during his time with the club. As he had stated, the racism in the club is worse than it has ever been and that the club seems not to care about it.
Rafiq says, ‘I know how close I was to committing suicide during my time at Yorkshire. I was living my family's dream as a professional cricketer, but inside I was dying. I was dreading going to work. I was in pain every day. There were times I did things to try and fit in that, as a Muslim, I now look back on and regret. I'm not proud of it at all’.
‘Yorkshire doesn’t want to listen and they don't want to change. And part of the reason for that is the people who were involved in the incidents I'm talking about are still at the club. They just want to sweep it under the carpet’, he added.
Rafiq says that he chose to speak up so no other player can undergo what he had experienced. So far, Yorkshire has not shared a statement in response to Rafiq’s revelations. Only ECB has spoken up about the issue.
The ECB says, ‘We are deeply troubled to hear of Azeem Rafiq's experiences and recognise the courage it has taken for him to speak out. The ECB welcomes Yorkshire County Cricket Club's commitment to thoroughly and urgently investigate this case and the wider review of club policies and culture. We will follow these closely and are in contact with the club and with Azeem. We will consider any further ECB steps which may be appropriate’.
‘Azeem's story is similar to some of the experiences we have heard about during the Black Lives Matter movement and demonstrates how much work is needed across the game, sport and society as a whole to eradicate racism. The ECB is opposed to discrimination of any form and remains committed to making the changes needed to make cricket a game for everyone’, they added.
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