Yorkshire cricketer's racially-offensive term towards Azeem Rafiq called 'banter'

11/11/2021 7:34 PM
Azeem Rafiq celebrating on a cricket field

A senior Yorkshire cricketer was cleared of wrongdoing despite repeatedly calling former teammate Azeem Rafiq a 'P**i'.

The report, which looked into claims of racism in the club, excused the unnamed player's use of the slur by calling it "friendly banter", according to ESPN cricinfo.

The publication says, the player - who is a current senior player at the club - admitted telling other people "don't talk to him [Rafiq], he's a P**i" and asking "is that your uncle?" when they saw bearded Asian men, as well as "does your dad own those?" in reference to corner shops.

The player insisted he did not think it was causing offence despite admitting to seeing Rafiq break down in tears.

The panel said: "The Panel does not accept that Azeem was offended by [the other player's] comments, either at the time they were made or subsequently."

They went on to say that, in the context of "banter between friends" Rafiq might be "expected to take such comments in the spirit in which they were intended (i.e. good natured banter between friends)… [so] 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."

String of allegations

The details emerged after Yorkshire's investigation into Rafiq's string of allegations of historic racist abuse at the club concluded with no one facing disciplinary action.

It said in a statement last week.“The club has also carried out their own internal investigation following the findings in the report after which they are able to report that they have come to the conclusion that there is no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or executives that warrant disciplinary action…

“It was important for Azeem to raise the issues and without him doing so we would not have the panel’s recommendations which are an important part of the club’s continuing journey.”

Rafiq hit out at the statement, tweeting: “Wow just when you think this club couldn’t get more embarrassing you find a way. Still awaiting the full report. Thanks for mentioning the people that have provided your PROTECTION and given green light to RACISM. Interesting timing again.”