LONDON — Azeem Rafiq, the former cricketer whose revelations about the racism he suffered at Yorkshire has sparked a crisis in the English game, apologizes today after admitting to sending antisemitic messages 10 years ago.
British newspaper The Times of London reports it has seen an exchange of messages that appear to have been sent between Rafiq and another former cricketer, Ateeq Javid, and which contain disparaging comments about an unnamed Jewish person.
Rafiq confirms in a post on Twitter that he did send the messages and has “absolutely no excuses.”
“I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offense,” Rafiq writes. “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 apologize to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this.”
Rafiq, a former England under-19 captain, testified through tears at a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday about his experiences of racism and bullying while playing for Yorkshire.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has suspended Yorkshire from hosting international matches over its “wholly unacceptable” response to the racism faced by Rafiq, while some of the club’s sponsors are ending deals.
British sports minister Nigel Huddleston called today for cricket to “get its house in order” and raised the possibility of independent regulation if it did not.