Azeem Rafiq has apologized and said he is “deeply ashamed” for using anti-Semitic language in Facebook messages from 2011. Former spinner Rafiq has spoken of his experiences of racism at Yorkshire and appeared at a Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport select committee this week. The 30-year-old said he had “absolutely no excuses” for the messages.
Azeem Rafiq has apologized for his Racist messages
Rafiq said: “I was sent an image of this exchange from early 2011 today (Thursday). I have gone back to check my account and it is me. I have absolutely no excuses.
He further added:
“I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offense. And I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today.
“I am incredibly angry at myself and I apologize to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie Van Der Zyl has appeared to accept his apology, stating:
“Rafiq has suffered terribly at the hands of racists in cricket so he will well understand the hurt this exchange will cause to Jews who have supported him.
“His apology certainly seems heartfelt and we have no reason to believe he is not completely sincere.”
“Warwickshire CCC is deeply concerned by comments that have been used in this reported exchange. Whilst Ateeq left Warwickshire in 2017, he still has close connections with the club and within our local community.
“We have already spoken briefly with Ateeq and will have a more detailed conversation to understand the nature of the exchange. And how he or anyone else at Warwickshire became involved.
“Warwickshire CCC is determined to reflect the communities that we serve at every level. With Edgbaston being a safe and welcoming place for all. We will not let anything that’s taken place at the club, past or present, detract from this.”
Rafiq was angry at himself for not seeing all this before, for looking the other way. So much so that, at the hearing, he was still blaming himself for being forced to drink that red wine. Rafiq was unhappy that his case wasn’t escalated enough by officials and institutions such as the National Asian Cricket Council. A body such as the NACC has a bigger picture to look at, of course, and must still strive to build rather than burn bridges.