Cricketer Azeem Rafiq apologises for using anti-Semitic language in past messages

Screengrab from Channel 4 of Azeem Rafiq, the cricketer at the centre of a racism row.

By William Hallowell.

The cricketer says he’s ‘ashamed’ as racist exchange with another player in 2011 is exposed days after he told MPs how he was racially abused at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

This week, Azeem Rafiq, the cricketer who accused a teammate of racism for repeatedly calling him a racist word provided a testimony to Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. 

His case was given more profile after Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, condemned Yorkshire County Cricket Club after it deemed it was only “banter” when Rafiq was called the racist term by a teammate on several occasions. 

In outrage, Javid previously said on Twitter than “heads should roll” at Yorkshire CCC over the verdict that Rafiq had not been racially abused, and that instead he was merely subject to changing room banter. 

The Health Secretary also called on the England and Wales Cricket Board to investigate the racism claims at the time, tweeting that if it “doesn’t take action it’s not fit for purpose”. 

After Rafiq gave his testimony to the committee, the Health Secretary commented further, tweeting: “Heart-rending testimony from Azeem Rafiq that will speak to anyone who has experienced racism. This was far more than just ‘banter’. 

“Thank you for your bravery – in speaking up so openly about your experience and the way it affected you”. 

However, amid the racism row which has made international news as a result of the Yorkshire CCC’s verdict, messages have come to light of Rafiq using anti-Semitic language dating back to 2011. 

It is understood The Times uncovered an exchange with former Warwickshire and Leicestershire player Ateeq Javid.

Rafiq, then 19, and Ateeq Javid were making offensive remarks about an unidentified Asian cricketer playing for Derbyshire in 2011 who they accused of not paying a dinner bill because “he is a Jew.”

Rafiq wrote on Facebook: “Hahaha he is a Jew. Probs go after my 2nds again.” He later added: “How wrong is that? Only Jews do that sort of s***.”

After the messages came to light Rafiq has apologised, saying he is “deeply ashamed.”

The former spinner wrote in a statement he posted on Twitter this afternoon:

“I have absolutely no excuses. I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offence. 

“I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today.  

“I am incredibly angry at myself and I apologise to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this”. 


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