Yorkshire Chair Colin Graves Faces Criticism for Lack of Direct Apology to Azeem Rafiq

Yorkshire Chair Colin Graves Faces Criticism for Lack of Direct Apology to Azeem Rafiq

Colin Graves, the newly reinstated chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, has yet to offer a direct apology to Azeem Rafiq, the former player who exposed the systemic racism he endured during his time at the club. Graves, who previously served as Yorkshire chair from 2012 to 2015, returned to the role last month despite the club being fined £400,000 for failing to address the racist and discriminatory language used within the organization.

When questioned by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Graves admitted that he had not personally apologized to Rafiq, stating that he had "plenty of things going on" at the time. This response drew criticism from committee members, who pressed Graves on why he had not reached out to Rafiq directly. Graves maintained that he had apologized publicly and that he would be willing to speak with Rafiq if the opportunity arose.

Graves also addressed his previous comments in which he dismissed the accusations of racism as "banter." He acknowledged the insensitivity of his remarks and apologized for using the term. Graves reiterated that he was never made aware of any racism during his previous tenure as Yorkshire chair, attributing it to insufficient processes for recording such incidents.

Meanwhile, Cindy Butts, chairwoman of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC), accused former England allrounder Ian Botham of spreading "untruths" about the commission's report on racism, sexism, and class-based discrimination in cricket. Butts clarified that Botham was invited to contribute to the report but did not respond. She expressed disappointment that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) did not publicly challenge Botham's comments.

ECB chair Richard Thompson revealed that he had contacted Botham to express his disagreement with the latter's remarks. The ECB also published a progress report on its plan to promote inclusivity in cricket, indicating that 11 of its 12 programs were on track. However, Clare Connor, the former England women's captain and ECB deputy chief executive, announced her resignation from her post due to personal reasons.

Tags: #YorkshireCCC, #AzeemRafiq, #ColinGraves, #RacismInCricket, #ICECReport

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