‘Heads should roll’ at Yorkshire County Cricket Club, says Sajid Javid

Health Secretary Sajid Javid. Photo credit: UK Gov - Photo licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.

By William Hallowell, CP News Reporter.

The Health Secretary has expressed anger at Yorkshire CCC’s report finding that the slur “Paki” was just “banter.” 

A racism report at Yorkshire County Cricket Club has determined that the use of the racial slur “Paki”, which was found to have been used against cricketer Azeem Raqif by at least one other player, is “banter.”

Sajid Javid expressed serious disapproval at the finding and demanded the England and Wales Cricket Board “take action.”

He wrote on Twitter: ““Paki” is not banter. Heads should roll at Yorkshire CCC. If [the ECB] doesn’t take action it’s not fit for purpose.”

The player who was found to use the slur against Raqif also admitted to telling others “don’t talk to him [Rafiq], he’s a Paki”, asking “is that your uncle?” when they saw bearded Asian men and saying “does your dad own those?” in reference to corner shops.

The player recalled seeing Raqif break down in tears at one point, but claimed he didn’t know he was causing offence and that had he known this, he would have ceased to use these insults.  

The ECB released the following statement with regards to the finding of Yorkshire CCC’s report:

“Last week we received Yorkshire CCC’s report into the racism and bullying allegations Azeem Rafiq made against the club. 

“We are conscious about the length of time that Azeem has waited for resolution and the toll that must be taking on his wellbeing and that of his family. We are sorry that, as a sport, this has not yet been resolved.

“We will conduct a full regulatory process that is fair to all parties, but also ensure this happens as quickly as possible. To achieve this, we have secured the services of a QC, along with other external investigatory support to upweight resource around our process. The ECB Board has also reaffirmed its commitment to further additional resource, should the investigation require it.

“We are aware that The Select Committee have called Yorkshire’s Chair, Roger Hutton, to give evidence. In the meantime, we will press ahead with our investigation.”

The team of lawyers who were charged with gathering evidence for the report found such comments aimed at Raqif to be “capable of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment” and they accepted Rafiq’s “evidence that he was offended, degraded or humiliated and that this amounted to harassment under the Equality Act and the Club’s Equal Opportunities policy”. 

However, the panel who were charged with making conclusions and recommendations said: “The Panel does not accept that Azeem was offended by [the other player’s] comments, either at the time they were made or subsequently.”

They went on to say that, in the context of “banter between friends” Rafiq might be “expected to take such comments in the spirit in which they were intended… [so] it was not reasonable for [Raqif] to have been offended by [the other player] directing equally offensive or derogatory comments back at him in the same spirit of friendly banter.”

Photo licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.


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