Nasser Hussain has praised Azeem Rafiq for his “bravery” in speaking out
Former England captain Nasser Hussain says racism is “prevalent throughout” English cricket and believes British Asian people will have identified with the discrimination suffered by Azeem Rafiq.
Former Yorkshire player Rafiq gave testimony before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee of MPs on Tuesday detailing the racism he suffered at the club, after a botched internal investigation by Yorkshire led to a backlash from fans, pundits and the general public.
In the weeks since the findings of the report were first announced, several British Asian cricketers have come forward to tell their stories, while stars including the likes of Michael Vaughan and Gary Ballance have been implicated for their alleged conduct.
Now Sky Sports commentator Hussain has used his Daily Mail column to emphasise that the problem is far more widespread than Yorkshire.
“[Racism] is prevalent throughout the game,” the 50-year-old wrote. “And it has not been picked up because it has become the norm. It’s been a ‘that’s what we do’ attitude and that has been allowed to fester for far too long. Those constant little digs and comments take their toll and the victims have just been forced to laugh it off because they have to fit in and conform.”
Rafiq’s telling of events in Westminster on Tuesday was harrowing and included details of a variety of slurs he was forced to endure throughout his career, and Hussain was full of praise for the 31-year-old’s bravery.
“Azeem Rafiq has had to wait a long time to make himself heard and he’s grown so frustrated it has affected his mental health,” Hussain added. “He has gone through an absolute nightmare. So it was incredibly brave of him to sit there in front of the world on Tuesday and explain so impressively what he has experienced. It was harrowing listening to it.
“Rafiq will have been fully vindicated by former chairman Roger Hutton admitting institutionalised racism at Yorkshire. It is why he had to go through the media to get his voice heard in the first place. His club were ignoring him.”
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