BBC stand by Michael Vaughan despite racism allegations

The former England captain has been temporarily stood down from his role with the broadcaster after being named in Yorkshire’s report into the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal

Jack Rathborn
Wednesday 01 December 2021 13:46
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Cricket racism crisis: What we know about the Azeem Rafiq case

The BBC will stand by Michael Vaughan and “expect” to work with the former England captain again despite standing him down ahead of the Ashes after his name was mentioned in Yorkshire’s report into the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

Vaughan has been accused of making a racist remark ahead of a Yorkshire match in 2009, which he strenuously denies, though Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan also claim to have heard it.

And the BBC removed him as part of their Ashes coverage last week, stating that it would not be “appropriate” to include the 47-year-old at this time.

In a statement, the BBC said: “We're in regular contact with Michael and have had positive conversations with him in recent days.

“Our contributors are required to talk about relevant issues, so Michael's involvement in a story of such significance means it's not possible for him to be part of our Ashes coverage or wider cricket coverage at the moment.

Michael Vaughan will not work for the BBC at the Ashes

“We're pleased with how our conversations are going and expect to work with Michael again in the future. He remains on contract to the BBC.”

Vaughan spoke about the accusations levelled at him last week, admitting he was “sorry for all the hurt” Rafiq has gone through, while also admitting regret at a number of offensive tweets that surfaced over the last decade.

“It hurts deeply, hurts me that a player has gone through so much be treated so badly at the club that I love,” Vaughan told the BBC.

“I have to take some responsibility for that because I played for Yorkshire County Cricket Club for 18 years and if in any way shape or form I’m responsible for any of his hurt, I apologise for that.”

The 2005 Ashes-winning captain was named again in Rafiq’s distressing testimony in front of a parliamentary select committee, in which the former off-spinner gave evidence of the “institutional racism” he suffered at Yorkshire.

Following his testimony, Rafiq said those who have apologised deserved “a second chance” but that it’s now up to Vaughan’s employers to “send a message”.

Michael Vaughan has categorically denied the allegations against him

“With people in denial there’s got to be a level of accountability there and it’s for their employers to send out a message - are they going to give a green light to racism or are they going to stamp it out?” Rafiq said.

“I’m disappointed in a lot of people’s denials. It may not mean a lot to them - I can live with that. But to try and completely deny it and make out that it’s all made up in my head is hurtful.”

Fox Sports have decided to retain Vaughan as part of their commentary team for the Ashes series.

BT Sport, who won the television rights to broadcast the series in Britain, will use Fox’s audio due to travel restrictions, meaning Vaughan will still be heard by a UK audience.

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