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Azeem Rafiq

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Post by king_carlos Thu 03 Sep 2020, 7:20 pm

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/29795656/azeem-rafiq-was-brink-suicide-experiencing-racism-yorkshire

Not sure where is best to post that but it's article that I feel should be read by many.

It's harrowing reading at times and I can only praise Rafiq for speaking out so publicly.

Growing up in Yorkshire and playing a lot of cricket during my school days I must say that you did hear a lot of bigoted views in more rural areas. An issue for the area and country as a whole, not just cricket of course.

I remember one game around 15 when a player of Indian heritage scored a match winning innings after being given not out caught behind. Whilst walking off the coach of the other side shouted (paraphrasing), "where's your turban you cheating 'person of Asian descent', trust him not to walk". Our coach, a local policeman, reported it to the league administrators but nothing came of it and later in the season that same coach was still in charge when we played a cup game against his side.

The only views such as those I heard from a Yorkshire CCC player of the time came from a player who was turning out for Scarborough CC when returning from injury. The bigoted comment was directed at a colt of Pakistani ancestry that he felt was bowling too poorly at him in the nets to warrant another delivery.

The silence thus far from Yorkshire is deafening.


Last edited by king_carlos on Fri 11 Sep 2020, 11:57 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Duty281 Thu 03 Sep 2020, 8:40 pm

Did read it earlier and do think it's very courageous of Rafiq to talk about this. Yorkshire CCC have said they're conducting a formal investigation into these allegations.

https://yorkshireccc.com/news/view/8697/statement-by-roger-hutton-chair-of-yorkshire-county-cricket-club

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Post by Gooseberry Fri 04 Sep 2020, 4:21 pm

Word today is that Darren Lehman might lose his with the Leeds 100 franchise off the back of this.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 04 Sep 2020, 5:08 pm

Given his ban back in 2003 it would be an unsurprising step. In light of this discussion, if Lehmann and Gale were two of the Leeds coaches heading into the Hundred having both copped bans for racially abusive outbursts there would be something very troubling indeed going on.

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Post by dummy_half Fri 11 Sep 2020, 10:15 am

King C

Interesting observations. I played my junior cricket for a Bradford League team (during the mid to late 80s)- the ground was on the border of Dewsbury and Batley, with 'sort of middle class' mostly white people on the Dewsbury side and a large immigrant Pakstani community on the Batley side. The team was typically a roughly even mix between the two. I don't recall there being racism issues either within the team or towards our coloured players, although of course as a teenager perhaps I was blind to it - I certainly wasn't blind to it more generally in the community. Of course, unlike your experience, this was in the predominantly urban areas of West Yorkshire, which have plenty of large Asian enclaves, and where they were common around the cricket reams (in some areas obviously the majority).

The one time where race, or at least nationality, was an issue within cricket was that we had a very good batsman a couple of years older than me who had started playing for Yorkshire's age group teams but was then dropped when it was found out that he was actually born in Pakistan (most of the others were 2nd generation). At the time, the 'born in Yorkshire' rule was still in force, although was to end a couple of years later. We did have another player of Pakistani ancestry but born in Yorkshire who was my contemporary and did play for the Yorkshire age group teams, and a wicket keeper a couple of years younger who went on to play first class cricket including a few games for Yorkshire county.

On a personal level, it certainly taught me that defining people by their race is pointless - two of my best friends on the team were coloured (as an aside, my other friend on the team was the now slightly famous Mr Mitchell from Educating Yorkshire...), and there were others I didn't get on with. Taught me though to judge people as individuals, not as an amorphous group.

I'm not entirely surprised that there have been issues over race in Yorkshire cricket - there obviously still is racism in the community and particularly with the older generations, so exactly the sort of people that would be the members of YCCC.

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Post by LondonTiger Fri 11 Sep 2020, 3:37 pm

Ismail Dawood the keeper?

The YCCC members (including me and my parents) are an odd bunch. Agreed they are generally pretty old, but also the ones we mix with are extremely welcoming to all hues (though less welcoming to "damn Londoners" making an exception for my Father Very Happy ).

Rafiq is a strange case. Perhaps it was trying to overcome the issues he reports, but he always seemed in the small interactions I had to be extremely arrogant and quite petulant. I would like to know the facts, but wonder if we ever will. Irrespective of what is found Gale is a complete dick though and has allegedly been guilty of bullying a number of players (imo I hasten to add)

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Post by dummy_half Fri 11 Sep 2020, 3:51 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Ismail Dawood the keeper?

The YCCC members (including me and my parents) are an odd bunch. Agreed they are generally pretty old, but also the ones we mix with are extremely welcoming to all hues (though less welcoming to "damn Londoners" making an exception for my Father Very Happy ).

Rafiq is a strange case. Perhaps it was trying to overcome the issues he reports, but he always seemed in the small interactions I had to be extremely arrogant and quite petulant. I would like to know the facts, but wonder if we ever will. Irrespective of what is found Gale is a complete dick though and has allegedly been guilty of bullying a number of players (imo I hasten to add)

Yep, Ishi was the keeper for our U13s while I was keeping for the U17s - I even did a little bit of coaching of him when he started (he did though get better than me quite quickly).

I'd be interested to know what Rashid's experiences at the county were like by comparison - similar age, background and also coming from a very successful U19 career. While I have no doubt that racism exists, and is never acceptable, I think some people make it easier to dislike them and for the insults to be brought out - perhaps Rafiq rubbed people up the wrong way and made it easier for them to resort to racist unpleasantness (I know that's as bad an excuse at 'she was asking for it' when scantily clad women are sexually assaulted, but it is part of human nature).

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Post by king_carlos Fri 11 Sep 2020, 4:59 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Ismail Dawood the keeper?

The YCCC members (including me and my parents) are an odd bunch. Agreed they are generally pretty old, but also the ones we mix with are extremely welcoming to all hues (though less welcoming to "damn Londoners" making an exception for my Father Very Happy ).

Rafiq is a strange case. Perhaps it was trying to overcome the issues he reports, but he always seemed in the small interactions I had to be extremely arrogant and quite petulant. I would like to know the facts, but wonder if we ever will. Irrespective of what is found Gale is a complete dick though and has allegedly been guilty of bullying a number of players (imo I hasten to add)

To be honest I had similar interactions when he was younger with Rafiq, regardless it wouldn't excuse the accusations. Though I know you aren't suggesting it in anyway would, LT! Rafiq is meant to have mellowed as he got a bit older though according to other YCCC members I know.

Worth noting that many young sportsman can be difficult to deal with when younger as well, particularly if there are extenuating circumstances. I played several school and club games against Jonny Bairstow in my teens for instance. A phenomenal batsman even then (real men against boys stuff) but incredibly difficult to deal with as a character when he was younger. Once again a situation of very difficult extenuating circumstances that influenced that behaviour though, another player who has mellowed as he matured and is meant to be one of the nicest blokes you could hope to meet now.

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Post by Gooseberry Wed 16 Sep 2020, 1:43 pm

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/29896435/yorkshire-racism-crisis-jason-gillespie-condemns-yorkshire-league-chairman-attack-azeem-rafiq

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/29891998/yorkshire-racism-crisis-rana-naved-ul-hasan-speaks-systematic-taunting-yorkshire


Lets not try and pretend this is just about one guy with an axe to grind years down the line.

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Post by LondonTiger Wed 16 Sep 2020, 2:34 pm

Oh, there are most definitely issues at Yorkshire.

I would like to point out though that with reference to Rana's comments, the crowd get on the back of lots of players. I remember a lot of vile abuse aimed at Steve Kirby among others.

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Post by JDizzle Fri 10 Sep 2021, 10:17 am

I see Yorkshire have chosen this morning to issue their statement about the Rafiq situation.

Convenient timing.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Mon 01 Nov 2021, 7:43 am

I didn’t think Yorkshire could come out of this any worse - but they’re managing it at every single step of the way. The shameless timing of statements, Missing deadlines to send the report to anyone, a few days ago releasing this pathetic club statement

https://yorkshireccc.com/news/view/9616/club-statement

Alone this is shameful - but another report from the excellent George Dobell today

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/yorkshire-racism-report-ruled-azeem-rafiq-being-called-p-i-was-banter-1286449

It’s clear this cricket club is rotten to the core, and seeing as they have no intentions of doing anything about it themselves the ECB must show some backbone and punish them severely and ensure there are serious changes made.
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Post by Mad for Chelsea Mon 01 Nov 2021, 9:03 am

Oh for goodness [only using this to get past the swear filer] sake!

Yorkshire have done nothing but delay, obfuscate, and victim-blame (even using the classic not-at-all-a-racist-trope "It was the [BAME person] being 'difficult' that caused the problems"). Now they've gone full reverse racism I see.

It's come across as an exercise in butt-covering of epic proportions. We weren't racist, and if we were, the guys responsible are long gone, honest. Oh, one of the current senior players repeatedly called Azeem "P*ki"? Nah, that was just banter. Sure, Azeem broke down in tears once, but really, why didn't he just ask them to stop? It's really all Azeem's fault. Oh, and he's a racist anyway.

Eugh.

Like Olly I can only hope the ECB do indeed intervene. It's clear the culture at the club (at least at the top) is completely rotten, and I hope the ECB are brave/principled enough to throw the proverbial book at them. In fairness to the ECB, they have already stepped in a couple of times...

Good work from Dobell again. In fact cricinfo's reporting around the thorny issue of racism in cricket has generally been top notch (see their excellent coverage of SA's SNJ hearings).

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Post by JDizzle Mon 01 Nov 2021, 9:55 am

It’s absolutely farcical at this point.

Multiple people drafting this report and inside Yorkshire CCC have written and read this and decided a report that says calling someone Zimbo (which to me has always been akin to Aussie or Kiwi, but happy to be corrected) would require disciplinary action but calling someone person of Asian descent repeatedly, amongst other racist tropes according to Dobell, is merely banter.

Yorkshire should be stripped of all international cricket until multiple heads roll at the top of that club.

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Post by guildfordbat Mon 01 Nov 2021, 10:41 am

Utterly disgraceful conduct by Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

I find the attempts to brush matters under the carpet even more sickening than the original offences and fully support the actions and sanctions being suggested here.

Credit is certainly due to George Dobell once more. He's given his notice in at cricinfo and I'm pretty sure I saw him on tv at a World Cup game the other day. Good that he's not opted for a cushty notice period and is instead still writing about what he cares about and what we need to know.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 02 Nov 2021, 7:03 pm

Julian Knight MP head of the DCMS select committee has now spoken out on this. The select committee have called YCCC chairman Roger Hutton to give evidence.

The ECB have started their own investigation and have secured the services of a QC to do so.

Anchor Butter, Yorkshires shirt sponsor for the RLC this summer, have pulled their sponsorship as well.

The YCCC board are in gigantic hole of their own digging. Azeem's allegations and the investigation into them have been despicably dealt.

I fully expect that a member(s) of the board or even Hutton himself will have to go at this stage. Whether the former and current players who racially abused Azeem receive sanctions is a different story.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Wed 03 Nov 2021, 2:02 pm

Latest here: https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/azeem-rafiq-set-to-give-evidence-before-dcms-as-pressure-mounts-on-yorkshire-1286881

Rafiq also called up to testify to DCMS, while Julian Knight MP who heads that committee has implicitly called for the resignation of the entire Yorkshire Board. The story about Roger Pugh being proposed as Head of the Premier Section of the Yorkshire league will do little to assuage concerns that there is something thoroughly rotten throughout Yorkshire cricket.

Sponsors pulling out too, and talk of the ECB (rightly) removing hosting rights for international cricket, both of which would create significant financial pressure to go with the political scrutiny.

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Post by king_carlos Wed 03 Nov 2021, 6:48 pm

Emerald Publishing and Yorkshire Tea have pulled sponsorship too.

Can the last person out of Headingley turn off the lights...

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Post by Duty281 Wed 03 Nov 2021, 7:38 pm

Mad for Chelsea wrote:Oh, one of the current senior players repeatedly called Azeem "P*ki"?

Gary Ballance, apparently, the guilty man.

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Post by JDizzle Wed 03 Nov 2021, 9:09 pm

Statement from Ballance:

https://www.yorkshireccc.com/news/view/9620/statement-by-gary-ballance

Important that Ballance doesn’t just become the fall guy for everything else that has gone on. This goes deeper at YCCC than Gary Ballance.

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Post by Duty281 Thu 04 Nov 2021, 7:11 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/59169535

Yorkshire suspended from hosting England games.

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Post by VTR Thu 04 Nov 2021, 7:55 pm

Something tells me a bunch of gammons are about to resign/be resigned

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Post by Duty281 Thu 04 Nov 2021, 10:02 pm

Michael Vaughan has been accused by Azeem Rafiq on two separate matters:

Spoiler:

The second example is somewhat dubious, but the first is very damning especially if corroborated by the other three players.

Vaughan has denied both allegations and adds that he never heard racist abuse in his 18 years (1991-2009) in the Yorkshire dressing room.

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Thu 04 Nov 2021, 11:29 pm

Whoever could’ve seen that a man who tweeted that Moeen Ali should knock on Muslims doors to check if they are terrorists, would be implicated in this?
Oh yeah, everyone. Odious human

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Fri 05 Nov 2021, 12:39 am

Yorkshire have an emergency board meeting today (Friday), apparently. One suspects that most of the board will be gone shortly afterwards.

Good to see the ECB take prompt and reasonably decisive action. I'm sure there are more nuclear options they could take, but removing the financial gains of international hosting will add to the pressure Yorkshire will be under. Good.

Just seen today that Yorkshire had been ordered by a judge to release the full report to Rafiq in early October. They missed the deadline, and then sent a redacted version. Just tawdry behaviour from them all the way through this sorry affair.

On Vaughan, I see him very carefully mentioning that, you know, bald and fat people were made fun of in the dressing room too. Not equating this to racism of course (wink, wink), and the racism never actually happened anyway, but, you know... Awful person.

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Post by king_carlos Fri 05 Nov 2021, 9:53 am

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/former-yorkshire-player-rana-naved-ul-hasan-says-he-heard-vaughan-s-racist-comments-1287618

Rana Naved-ul-Hasan has corroborated the comments from Vaughan.

I played at Sheffield Collegiate CC when the Michael Vaughan cricket academy was there during my teens as my dad was working in Sheffield at the time. News that Vaughan has been caught up in this will come as little surprise to many in cricket I'd wager.

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Post by JDizzle Mon 15 Nov 2021, 8:59 am

https://twitter.com/georgedobell1/status/1460158463963762689?s=21

Adil Rashid has backed up Rafiq and Rana in hearing Vaughan’s comments.

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Post by guildfordbat Mon 15 Nov 2021, 10:50 am

JDizzle wrote:https://twitter.com/georgedobell1/status/1460158463963762689?s=21

Adil Rashid has backed up Rafiq and Rana in hearing Vaughan’s comments.

Not surprising but still heartening to see Dobell continuing to pursue this with his new employer The Cricketer.


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Post by VTR Mon 15 Nov 2021, 12:22 pm

Looking a lot like a Big Ron moment for Vaughan

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Post by king_carlos Mon 15 Nov 2021, 3:00 pm

guildfordbat wrote:
JDizzle wrote:https://twitter.com/georgedobell1/status/1460158463963762689?s=21

Adil Rashid has backed up Rafiq and Rana in hearing Vaughan’s comments.

Not surprising but still heartening to see Dobell continuing to pursue this with his new employer The Cricketer.


I particularly like the comment someone made under that tweet from the cricketer.

"Jeez, George. 11 minutes into your new job? Most of us would still be trying to find the loo!"

Sums Dobell up pretty well. Not only a very good and knowledgeable writer but he is incredibly tenacious when he feels a story has to be heard.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 16 Nov 2021, 1:26 pm

Been watching some of the Azeem Rafiq hearing before MPs today.

He's painted a dismal picture of Yorks CCC where they saw him merely as a troublemaker, where he endured racism and where was became so disillusioned that he would not want his son to be a cricketer.

More worryingly he said he believed racism was rife throughout English cricket.

And of even further concern were the comments of recently resigned Yorks CCC chairman Roger Hutton who spoke of the "clear resistance" of the club to see Azeem as a victim or to apologise to him.

ECB chiefs have also given evidence trying to justify their refusal to get involved until virtually being forced to do so.

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Post by king_carlos Tue 16 Nov 2021, 9:56 pm

https://www.thecricketer.com/Topics/countycricket/he_threw_banana_said_climb_for_it_monkey_maurice_chambers_recalls_racism_county_cricket.html

Maurice Chambers speaking about his time at Essex. Absolutely appalling.

I see David Byas, Andrew Gale, Tim Bresnan and Matthew Hoggard have also been named by Azeem. I was coached by Byas during my later schoolboy cricket. I'd put Byas being named in this in the same category as Gale and Vaughan, i.e. depressingly unsurprising.

Given the allegations against Ballance weren't upheld by the YCCC investigation I'd be very interested to know what the seven allegations that were upheld involved.

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Post by Duty281 Thu 18 Nov 2021, 5:02 pm

Disgusting and nasty anti-Semitic comments from Azeem Rafiq have surfaced today, which he has issued a pretty pathetic apology for.

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Post by king_carlos Thu 18 Nov 2021, 8:32 pm

Abhorrent messages from Azeem. The "I was 19" caveat didn't wash for me with Robinson and doesn't for Rafiq either. He was an adult. A young adult but still an adult.

Azeem being guilty of racist comments himself shouldn't distract from the abuse he received himself though or the wider problem at YCCC and in the game as a whole.

Barney Ronay wrote:Azeem Rafiq’s messages are something he has to face and explain like anyone else. But to be clear, their existence makes Yorkshire ccc and English cricket more not less racist. Net racism is increased by this, not diluted or excused. The need for culture change is even clearer.

And if you’re on here celebrating the existence of this racism as a “win”, well, you’re not making the point you think you are

Barney Ronay sums up my feelings to these revelations well there.

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Post by guildfordbat Thu 18 Nov 2021, 11:40 pm

king_carlos wrote:Abhorrent messages from Azeem. The "I was 19" caveat didn't wash for me with Robinson and doesn't for Rafiq either. He was an adult. A young adult but still an adult.

Azeem being guilty of racist comments himself shouldn't distract from the abuse he received himself though or the wider problem at YCCC and in the game as a whole.

Barney Ronay wrote:Azeem Rafiq’s messages are something he has to face and explain like anyone else. But to be clear, their existence makes Yorkshire ccc and English cricket more not less racist. Net racism is increased by this, not diluted or excused. The need for culture change is even clearer.

And if you’re on here celebrating the existence of this racism as a “win”, well, you’re not making the point you think you are

Barney Ronay sums up my feelings to these revelations well there.

Hi Carlos, I'm more sympathetic to Rafiq here - as I was to Robinson when his storm blew - than you but also share the feelings of Barney Ronay. Rafiq should have been called out for his messages and been both punished and educated as a consequence. However, the proper time for that was eleven years ago; i.e. when it happened. The fact that no action was taken is highly indicative of the obnoxious culture of Yorkshire CCC and the inability of the ECB to exercise proper control and governance.


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Post by Soul Requiem Fri 19 Nov 2021, 8:13 am

king_carlos wrote:Abhorrent messages from Azeem. The "I was 19" caveat didn't wash for me with Robinson and doesn't for Rafiq either. He was an adult. A young adult but still an adult.

Azeem being guilty of racist comments himself shouldn't distract from the abuse he received himself though or the wider problem at YCCC and in the game as a whole.

Barney Ronay wrote:Azeem Rafiq’s messages are something he has to face and explain like anyone else. But to be clear, their existence makes Yorkshire ccc and English cricket more not less racist. Net racism is increased by this, not diluted or excused. The need for culture change is even clearer.

And if you’re on here celebrating the existence of this racism as a “win”, well, you’re not making the point you think you are

Barney Ronay sums up my feelings to these revelations well there.

I'll try and be as eloquent as possible.

I've kept quiet on the matter and found Ballance's original statement quite telling, in it he alludes to similar comments made by Rafiq, fast forward two weeks and we're now here. I have the upmost respect for Rafiq for speaking up but found it dispiriting that he painted himself as a victim rather than part of a wider problem. I tend to be of the opinion that young people say stupid things and judging them a decade later does nothing, their actions in the intermediary period are more important. If you're going to drag others through the mud make sure you're squeaky clean however.

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Post by Afro Fri 19 Nov 2021, 10:47 am

I agree.

Rafiq's messages don't lessen how bad the Yorkshire situation was, nor excuse it. But Rafiq portraying himself as the victim just doesn't wash anymore, and my sympathy for him has diminished.

He is as bad as the rest of them
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Post by sirfredperry Wed 24 Nov 2021, 4:05 pm

I see Michael Vaughan will NOT be a part of the BBC coverage of The Ashes tour in the wake of Azeem Rafiq-gate.

Regardless of what Vaughan said/didn't say, a little time off the mainstream air (he'll actually still be working, via Fox) will probably do Vaughan a bit of good.

He's become remarkably self-important and outspoken and extremely touchy when he's reminded that some of the players he "bigs up" are part of the management company to which he's attached.

Alas, Vaughan belongs to a long-running club of ex-England captains who couldn't take much criticism in their playing days but were happy to dish it out as pundits.


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Post by king_carlos Wed 24 Nov 2021, 5:12 pm

Vaughan will keep getting work. For starters Kelvin Mackenzie (former Sun editor who founded talksport) has vocally defended him so I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up with talksport.

Even prior to the allegations from Rafiq, Rashid and Naved I've been pretty open on here for a while that I think Vaughan is an abysmal commentator so purely from that perspective I'll be glad to listen to TMS without his drivel for a change. His constant need to be contrarian sees him frequently contradict himself in the space of single discussion. A perfect example that being a good thinker about the game on the pitch often doesn't corresponds to being a good commentator.

There's naturally an uproar amongst some about Vaughan being "guilty until proven innocent" but being suspended pending an inquiry isn't unusual at all in the work place. I also think the Beebs comments are fair that the TMS team will need to comment on current affairs in cricket, hence needing to discuss the YCCC situation, which creates a clear conflict for Vaughan.

A lot can often be said of someones character by looking at the people defending them in these situations. Vaughan's most vocal defenders seem to be Mackenzie and Piers Morgan...

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Thu 25 Nov 2021, 9:43 am

sirfredperry wrote:

He's become remarkably self-important



Always has been. Can't remember what series it was (might have been early in the 2005 Ashes before he got runs at Trent Bridge) but I recall a commentator asking him what he needed to do to get back to contributing with the bat.

Vaughan's response was (paraphrasing as it has been a while) along the lines of "Michael Vaughan just needs to get back to being the best Michael Vaughan he can be".

He should have stripped of the captaincy in that instance. Moron.

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