Fallout of Azeem Rafiq’s stunning testimony on racism in cricket: Former England coach David Lloyd issues public apology

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In an extraordinary development, former England coach and cricket commentator, David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd, has issued a public apology to former Yorkshire cricketer, Azeem Rafiq, for his text message about him and the Asian cricket community in England.

Taking to Twitter, Llyod said confessed to exchanging ‘private message’ with a third party in reference to allegations of racism made by Azeem Rafiq. Llyod, who is currently employed with Sky Sports as a commentator, said that he had indeed made ‘made some comments about the Asian cricket community.’

Lloyd said, “I deeply regret my actions, and I apologise most sincerely to Azeem and to the Asian cricket community for doing this, and for any offence caused.”

“I am strongly committed to making cricket a more inclusive sport. It is very obvious now that more work needs to be done and I will do everything I can to remove discrimination from the sport that I love, and the sport that has been my life for over 50 years.”

While giving testimony before the group of British MPs on Tuesday, Rafiq had revealed how Lloyd had attempted to smear his image after the latter raised the issue of racism in cricket.

He had told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee, “I sat in front of national TV and talked about the dark places this whole episode has got me into and what’s happened since then? Denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing.”

Rafiq continued, “High-profile media people messaging other members of the media who supported me saying stuff like ‘the club houses are the life blood of a club and Asian players don’t go in there’, ‘getting subs out of Asian players is like getting blood out of stone’.”

“And then personally this guy doesn’t even know me, has never spent any time with me, is talking about my personal drinking, going out and socialising.

“That was David Lloyd, he’s been an England coach, commentator, and I found it disturbing because Sky are supposedly doing this amazing work on bringing racism to the front and within a week of me speaking out that’s what I got sent to me. And I thought, ‘gosh, there’s some closet racists and we need to do something about it’.”

Lloyd’s employer, Sky Sports, has said that it was probing allegations against him and would take appropriate action based on the outcome of the investigations.

Also Read: Fresh crisis in ECB as Michael Vaughan accused of racism, denies Azeem Rafiq’s accusations

Rafiq’s allegations on institutional racism have rocked English cricket with top executives of the Yorkshire Cricket Club having to resign. This was after the county club was banned from hosting any international matches amidst top brands snapping their ties with the Yorkshire Cricket Club.

Rafiq on Tuesday said how he felt suicidal by the routine racist treatment from fellow players. The former Yorkshire skipper said that he was let down by the ECB and Professional Cricketers’ Association when he informed them about feeling suicidal. The cricketer also lost his child during the period when he was facing mental agony at his cricket club.

Rafiq said that racism cost him his international career in cricket.