Race row apology by 'Wisden' editor

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The Independent Online
The editor of Wisden Cricket Monthly last night admitted an "error of judgement" in allowing an article questioning the commitment of foreign- born players to the England team to be published in the magazine.

The controversial article, written by Robert Henderson, claimed these players were less committed to the team's success.

Wisden's editor, David Frith, initially defended the piece - although he accepted the use of the word "negro" was not acceptable - but its publication brought condemnation. England stars Phillip Defreitas and Devon Malcolm were said to be "outraged" and threatened legal action.

Mr Frith last night offered his "unreserved apologies to all whose sensibilities have been offended by the article".

In a statement he said: "I now accept that it was an error of judgement to have accepted [the article] for publication in the first place. I had hoped that the article would be a springboard for beneficial debate, but have been deeply disappointed at distortions in certain sections of the media. To that end, Wisden's legal advisers continue to monitor the position. My unreserved apologies are extended to all those whose sensibilities have been offended by the article.

"I cannot be held responsible for coverage of the matter elsewhere. I tried all along to make it clear that I did not support the majority of the sentiments expressed by Mr Henderson."

A paragraph on the first page of the July edition of the magazine, in which the article appeared, supported this, he said.

"But I also believed that it was an editor's responsibility to tackle difficult issues, to bring them into the open so that solutions might be found.

"My particular hope in respect of this article was that the plight of foreign-born cricketers in this country and those with immigrant parents - whether from West Indies, Australasia, Southern Africa or Asia - might be better understood when their difficulties were considered. Publication of the particular article was, I now realise, not the best way to have gone about it. The national identity element was drowned out."

The article came at a time of considerable debate over the issue of players born abroad representing England or other home nations.