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1 Nov, 2021 13:42

‘P*ki’ slurs were just ‘banter’? Famous cricket club under fire after investigation while alleged victim also accused of racism

‘P*ki’ slurs were just ‘banter’? Famous cricket club under fire after investigation while alleged victim also accused of racism

A report into racism at Yorkshire Cricket Club has seen insults allegedly lodged at Azeem Rafiq dismissed as "banter", after Rafiq was regularly called a "P*ki" by at least one teammate later cleared of wrongdoing.

ESPN's Cricinfo offshoot has chosen not to name the player but claims he is a senior figure at the club.

He reportedly admitted to regularly employing the slur to refer to Rafiq, but was given the all-clear after its use was considered "friendly, good-natured 'banter'" between the two teammates.

In addition, the offending party admitted to telling others not to talk to Rafiq because "he's a P*ki", and asking "is that your uncle?" whenever they saw bearded South Asian men plus "does your dad own those?" when identifying shops found in English towns and cities which are often run by people of subcontinent descent.

The abuse allegedly caused Rafiq to break down in tears, and the player insisted he would have stopped if asked while having no idea he had caused offense.

Additionally, the spin bowler has made accusations of a drinking culture being forced on Muslim players at the club and being afforded less opportunities than white players. 

The English Cricket Board, which recently suspended international player Ollie Robinson over historic tweets while he played for Yorkshire nine years ago, are currently reviewing the information in the report which was sent to them several months late.

Also on rt.com UK prime minister Boris Johnson wades in to back England star Robinson after cricketer is canceled for racist and sexist tweets

The investigating team of lawyers found the comments aimed at Rafiq to be "capable of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment…" while accepting "evidence that he was offended, degraded or humiliated and that this amounted to harassment under the Equality Act and the Club's Equal Opportunities policy".

But the panel, which contained Asian members and whose conclusions on the matter were final within the club, stated that it "does not accept that Azeem was offended by [the other player's] comments, either at the time they were made or subsequently."

Furthermore, they "expected" the 30-year-old "to take such comments in the spirit in which they were intended", so, in their view, "it was not reasonable for Azeem to have been offended by [the other player] directing equally offensive or derogatory comments back at him in the same spirit of friendly banter".

In a plot twist, Rafiq himself has been accused of using "offensive, racially derogatory comments" by the panel.

This comes after he allegedly referred to a Zimbabwean cricketer as "Zimbo from Zimbabwe", which they viewed as "a racist, derogatory term" despite it being widely-considered as the equivalent of calling an Australian or New Zealander an "Aussie" or "Kiwi".

As Rafiq, who hasn't played competitive cricket since 2018, was still a Yorkshire player at the time, they recommend that he should face disciplinary action despite none of the club's players, coaches or executives receiving the same treatment for involvement or turning a blind eye to him being called the far more offensive "P*ki".

Retweeting a number of supportive comments over the last few days after Yorkshire's announcement before the weekend on "the actions it has taken since they received the report", and responding to quips such as players not being able to "take dressing room banter", Rafiq posted a simple "facts + truth" meme on his Twitter account on Monday afternoon as news of the report's findings and ESPN's revelations on it spread further.