Azeem Rafiq having to move his family overseas to escape racist abuse is shameful – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Karl Milner, Yorkshire County Cricket Club Member, Ilkley.

I learned with a heavy heart that former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq is moving his family, including his elderly parents, overseas to escape inexcusable and vile racist abuse both online and at his home.

Mr Rafiq exposed the racism, sometimes wrongly portrayed as harmless dressing room banter, that is still unfortunately part of the everyday experience of sports men and women across the country, for that he should be thanked not attacked. Those responsible for perpetrating and stoking-up these hateful attacks should hold their heads in shame.

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I also note that Sporting Equals – an arm of Sport England – recently singled out the continuing media coverage of Mr Rafiq and Lord Patel’s tenure at YCCC as ‘inappropriate’ as it ‘exacerbates the victim blaming culture and fuels institutional racism’. One can only summate that they mean the coverage in these pages.

Azeem Rafiq playing for Yorkshire in 2017. PIC: Richard Sellers/Getty Images.Azeem Rafiq playing for Yorkshire in 2017. PIC: Richard Sellers/Getty Images.
Azeem Rafiq playing for Yorkshire in 2017. PIC: Richard Sellers/Getty Images.

As, despite repeated calls for calm, I continue to read regular articles by your cricket writer, Mr Chris Waters, calling for Lord Patel’s head on a silver platter. He is at least consistent in his unhealthy obsession.

Mr Waters is, of course, very close to the old guard who still haunt favoured private corridors of Headingley with alarming frequency.

No doubt he is listening whilst he is aboard – that is his job. Yet the truth is the world has turned.

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Listening to ghoulish voices, then reporting their twisted thoughts about Mr Rafiq and Lord Patel as if they are still in control or even have a hope of being so, is not helpful and is in my opinion, an example of what Sporting Equals refer to.

The truth of the matter is that an overwhelming majority of members support the new board, its improved constitution and Lord Patel. They have won every vote at every meeting overwhelmingly since Lord Patel came to office.

That is because we know if Lord Patel was to go mid reform Test Matches would disappear and so would our club – end of. Mr Rafiq is leaving the country and it is tragic, I plead with the YP, do not exacerbate that error by continuing to report news of rebellion against Lord Patel as if it was meaningful. Regime change will not happen because the rank and file membership will not allow it.

Maintaining first class cricket and test matches will always come first here whatever the words are muttered to Mr Waters by those who care more about their bruised egos than they ever did about equality, diversity, inclusion or cricket.