Former cricketer Azeem Rafiq, who testified about his experiences of being subjected to racism while playing for Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) before a UK parliamentary panel on Tuesday, has apologized for unspecified comments he says he made in 2011.
Shortly before Rafiq’s apology, a screenshot of messages that appeared to involve Rafiq making antisemitic comments ten years ago had been shared. Rafiq, 30, says he made derogatory comments on social media when he was a teenager and is a “different person today.”
Rafiq tweeted on Thursday: “I was sent an image of this exchange from early 2011 today. I have gone back to check my account and it is me - 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.”
After a turbulent month which has brought to light multiple allegations of racism by former players of YCCC, Rafiq gave evidence on Tuesday, sharing his experience at Yorkshire and broke down in tears on more than one occasion.
“From early on there was a lot of “You lot sit over there near the toilets,” the word ‘P***’ was used constantly, no one ever stamped it out,” said Rafiq.
“All I wanted to do was play cricket. Towards the end of my first spell but constantly throughout I knew there was something wrong. I started taking medication for my mental health. It was really tough.”
Rafiq made over 40 allegations against YCCC that he says took place between 2008 and 2018, according to a report summary of an independent inquiry conducted on behalf of the club, which noted that in almost all cases he alleged he was subject to racial harassment or bullying.
The inquiry dismissed some of Rafiq’s allegations, but noted that Rafiq had been subjected to racial harassment and bullying in his time at YCCC.