Alex Hales has “categorically and absolutely” denied that the naming of his dog incorporated racial connotations following Azeem Rafiq’s harrowing account of racial abuse and discrimination at Yorkshire.
In his testimony to a parliamentary select committee on Tuesday, Rafiq fought back tears while detailing the racist terms that were “used constantly” at Yorkshire and went unchallenged by senior leadership.
One example focused on Gary Ballance’s alleged use of the name ‘Kevin’ as a derogatory term for people of colour, which Rafiq claimed was a factor in Hales giving his black Doberman dog the same name.
In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, the Nottingham batsman strongly refuted the claim. “Having heard the allegations made against me, I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog,” Hales wrote.
“I entirely respect and have huge sympathy for both the stance Azeem Rafiq has taken and what he has had to endure. His evidence was harrowing.
“There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in cricket and I will gladly co-operate with any investigation the game’s authorities choose to hold.”
Rafiq said he believes “hundreds and thousands” may follow his lead and share their experiences of racism in county cricket on Wednesday and said that Yorkshire cannot move forwards until head coach Andrew Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon have left the club.
Rafiq’s testimony on Tuesday implicated several high-profile players, including Hales, in the racial harassment and discrimination he faced during his two spells at Yorkshire.
Rafiq revealed that former England and Yorkshire bowler Matthew Hoggard and former England batter and head coach David Lloyd had both apologised to him privately while Tim Bresnan apologised in a statement for “any part played in contributing to Azeem Rafiq’s experience of being bullied” but denied that he had regularly made racist comments.
Yorkshire made no official comment on Wednesday but head coach Gale, who is currently suspended pending an investigation into a historic tweet and was accused of constant racial abuse by Rafiq, is reportedly set to be sacked.
Moxon, who is accused of systematic bullying, including an outburst on Rafiq’s first day back following the stillbirth of his son, is currently signed off with a stress-related illness.
“I don’t think Martyn and Andrew can (continue),” Rafiq told Sky. “I don’t think it’s possible for Yorkshire to move forward with them in there, with them knowing full well what role they played in that institution.”
Asked if they, or Ballance, had attempted to apologise, Rafiq said: “No, and I don’t expect them to be. I still don’t think any of them think they’ve done anything wrong, which shows them for what they are.”
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