The term we now know was used towards Azeem Rafiq is utterly reprehensible, steeped in the type of spiteful prejudice that causes tragic consequences. And yet, the club – blatantly bereft of leadership – continues to wallow in denial about the harm its racism problem has caused to people under its care.
So, today, The Yorkshire Post calls upon club chairman Roger Hutton to step aside to allow someone to take charge who is capable of providing a just outcome for the victims, and envision a pathway back for our once illustrious club.
What is more, the way in which senior executives have since dealt with the perpetrators and the culture that enabled their actions demonstrates an abject lack of understanding. It is clear the leadership at our once proud cricket club lacks the courage required to face its demons.
To recap: more than a year after Mr Rafiq made accusations, the club admitted, in September, that there was “no question” he was “the victim of racial harassment” during his first spell at Yorkshire and was subsequently “the victim of bullying” after a year-long investigation upheld just seven of 43 allegations.
However, the independent investigation, overseen by Squire Patton Boggs – by whom Mr Hutton was once employed – did not uphold Rafiq’s central allegation that the club is institutionally racist, determining that there was insufficient evidence.
The club later concluded there had been no conduct by “employees, players or executives that warrants disciplinary action”.
Well, this newspaper – on the balance of evidence – disagrees.
Now, another investigation will be conducted by the England and Wales Cricket Board in search of the answers. Members, quite rightly, have expressed their concern at how the episode has been handled and sponsors are now walking away.
Mr Hutton will soon be called before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, it was confirmed yesterday, after it emerged that a Yorkshire player escaped sanction despite repeatedly attacking Mr Rafiq with racist abuse.
But before that day comes, the club must find a way of demonstrating it is prepared to tackle its racism problem, for good.
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