Azeem Rafiq ‘ashamed’ after historic anti-Semitic exchange comes to light

74

2011 discussion surfaces in wake of ex-cricketer’s anti-racism testimony

Azeem Rafiq has admitted he is “ashamed” of anti-Semitic remarks that he made in a text exchange with a fellow Asian player back in 2011.

Rafiq, whose testimony before a parliamentary select committee this week has forced English cricket to confront accusations of institutional racism, added in a statement issued via Twitter that he had “absolutely no excuses” for his actions.

The exchange, involving the former Leicestershire cricketer Ateeq Javid, appears to centre around a third Asian player, then playing for Derbyshire, who was reluctant to spend money on a meal.

“Hahaha he is a Jew,” Rafiq joked. “Probs go after my 2nds again ha … Only Jews do tht sort of shit”.

In response, Rafiq wrote: “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.”

Rafiq’s admission follows the recent suspension of Yorkshire’s head coach, Andrew Gale, following his own use of the anti-Semitic slur “Y*d” in a Twitter exchange in 2010.

Responding to his post, Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told PA: “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.”

Speaking in the wake of his testimony, Rafiq admitted that he was “not perfect”, but that “nothing excuses racism”.

“At no point will I ever try and defend the indefensible,” he later added on Twitter. “For those I have hurt I am sincerely sorry. I will continue to front up & own any more mistakes I have made.”