Azeem Rafiq: Cricketer apologises after historical anti-semitic messages sent to another player surface

The cricketer has apologised for the messages following a week of turmoil in the cricketing world after Rafiq spoke out on his experiences with racism in the sport

Cricketer Azeem Rafiq has apologised after anti-semitic message to a teammate surfaces. (Credit: Getty)Cricketer Azeem Rafiq has apologised after anti-semitic message to a teammate surfaces. (Credit: Getty)
Cricketer Azeem Rafiq has apologised after anti-semitic message to a teammate surfaces. (Credit: Getty)

Azeem Rafiq has apologised for anti-semitic messages which he sent to a teammate in 2011.

The cricketer issued an apology on Twitter admitting to sending the messages to his colleague 10 years ago.

It comes after he openly spoke about his experience with racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

At a glance: 5 key points

  • In 2011, messages were sent to a teammate of Azeem Rafiq’s which included the use of anti-semitic language 
  • Rafiq has admitted in a statement that the messages did come from his account 
  • He has apologised for his messages, stating that he is “ashamed” of his actions
  • Rafiq spoke openly about his experiences with racism in cricket, and of his experience of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club
  • An investigation conducted by the club concluded that Rafiqd was “the victim of racial harassment and bullying” during his time at the club

What did Azeem Rafiq say in his statement?

The Yorkshire cricketer took to Twitter to confirm that messages containing anti-semitic language that was used against another cricketer did come from his account.

They were sent to former Warwickshire player Ateeq Javid and appear to be referencing another player.

He went on to apologies for the messages.

Rafiq, 30, said: “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 apologies to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this.”

What has the reaction been?

Co-chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, Claudia Mendoza, said: “There’s no doubt that this is massively awkward for Azeem Rafiq.

“But he’s taken full ownership, apologised, and undoubtedly - through his own experiences - learnt a lot about racism since then.”

Marie Van Der Zyl, Board of Deputies of British Jews president, added: “Azeem Rafiq has suffered terribly at the hands of racists in cricket so he will well understand the hurt this exchange will cause to Jews who have supported him.

“His apology certainly seems heartfelt and we have no reason to believe he is not completely sincere.”

In a statement, Warwickshire chairman Mark McCafferty said: “We are aware of the messages exchanged by Azeem Rafiq and former Warwickshire player Ateeq Javid in 2011.

“Warwickshire CCC is deeply concerned by comments that have been used in this reported exchange. Whilst Ateeq left Warwickshire in 2017, he still has close connections with the club and within our local community.

“We have already spoken briefly with Ateeq and will have a more detailed conversation to understand the nature of the exchange and how he or anyone else at Warwickshire became involved.

“Warwickshire CCC is determined to reflect the communities that we serve at every level, with Edgbaston being a safe and welcoming place for all. We will not let anything that’s taken place at the club, past or present, detract from this.”

What has Azeem Rafiq said about racism?

The anti-semitic messages have surfaced after Rafiq gave evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday (16 November) surrounding allegations of racism and discrimination at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

At the hearing, Rafiq described English cricket as “institutionally racist” and claimed that racist language was used “constantly” during his term at the club.

He also claimed that he received “inhuman” treatment at the club.

Yorkshire County Cricket Club have previously investigated Rafiq’s allegations of racism and found that he was “the victim of racial harassment and bullying” and apologised.

However, the club said that there would be no disciplinary action to any individual following the conclusion of the report.

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