Yorkshire racism scandal has 'fractured our game' and 'torn lives apart' - Root

By Sports Desk November 11, 2021

England captain Joe Root says the Yorkshire County Cricket Club racism scandal has "fractured our game" and "torn lives apart."

An independent report upheld former Yorkshire spinner Azeem Rafiq's allegations that he had been victim of "racial harassment and bullying" during his time with the county.

Yorkshire carried out their own internal investigation following the findings of the report and concluded no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or executives warranted disciplinary measures.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last week suspended Yorkshire from hosting international and major matches in response to the club's "wholly unacceptable" handling of Rafiq's racism allegations of institutional racism.

Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton resigned along with other board members, with Lord Kamlesh Patel swiftly appointed as his replacement.

The ECB appointed a QC to look into Yorkshire's handling of the report and Lord Patel revealed he would be commissioning a specialist independent review of the county's processes and procedures on diversity and inclusion.

Yorkshire batsman and England skipper Root said in a statement on Thursday: "In my capacity as England captain and as a senior player at Yorkshire, I feel compelled to address the current situation that has consumed the sport and YCCC.

"I just want the sport to be a place where everyone is enjoying it for the beautiful game it is and feels equal and safe. It hurts knowing this has happened at YCCC so close to home. It's my club that I care passionately about it. I've spent a lot of time reflecting. There is no debate about racism, no one side or other. It is simply intolerable.

"These events have fractured our game and torn lives apart. We must now recover and come back together as fans, players, media, and those who work within cricket. We have an opportunity to make the sport I love better for everyone.

"I want to see change and actions that will see YCCC rise from this with a culture that harnesses a diverse environment with trust across all communities that support cricket in the county. We need to educate, unify and reset. I will reach out to YCCC new chair, Lord Patel, to offer support however I'm able.

"We have to find a way to move forward and make sure this never happens again. In my opinion, this is a societal issue and needs addressing further afield than just cricket.

"That being said, we, as a sport, all have to do more. How can we all help shape things moving forward positively? What can everyone from myself, the ECB, counties, players, officials and others in the sport do to improve the state of the game?

"I certainly don't have all the answers, but I think we need to educate more and earlier; we must call it out straight away and have our eyes and ears open more.

"Inclusivity, diversity and anti-discrimination is something over the past few years the England teams I have been involved in have spent a lot of time talking about and are very passionate about improving and making a big difference. It's a big part of our culture, and we want to celebrate our diversity.

"We are representing England, and in that, we are representing the multicultural society we live in. We want all the fans to be able to enjoy what we do on the field and feel proud about who's representing them."

Yorkshire this week suspended head coach Andrew Gale pending a disciplinary hearing into an historic tweet, while director of cricket Martyn Moxon has been signed off due to a stress-related illness.

Gary Ballance, Yorkshire's former England batsman, admitted using a racial slur towards his former team-mate Rafiq.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan then revealed he was named in the report but "totally denies any allegation of racism".

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