David Lloyd, Tim Bresnan apologise for comments on Asian players
Former England pacer Tim Bresnan and cricket commentator David Lloyd have apologised after Azeem Rafiq in a testimony to a British parliamentary committee catalogued a culture of widespread racism at his county club Yorkshire, describing the “inhuman” treatment he had received. He also said the sport in England was riddled with racism.
Rafiq testified that members of the media were also guilty of racism and identified Lloyd, a former England cricketer who is now a Sky Sports pundit, as messaging others in the media and saying: “A clubhouse is the lifeblood of a club and Asian players don’t go in there”.
“In October 2020, I had a private message exchange with a third party involved in cricket, about a number of topics,” Lloyd said in a statement on Twitter. “In these messages, I referred to allegations about Azeem Rafiq which I had heard from within the game. I also made some comments about the Asian cricket community.
“I deeply regret my actions, and I apologise most sincerely to Azeem and to the Asian cricket community for doing this, and for any offence caused.
“I am strongly committed to making cricket a more inclusive sport. It is very obvious now that more work needs to be done and I will do everything I can to remove discrimination from the sport I love, and the sport that has been my life for over 50 years.”
While Bresnan has apologised to Rafiq over his bullying claims, he ‘categorically denies’ making any racist comments towards his ex-Yorkshire teammate.
In his witness statement, the 30-year-old Rafiq said Bresnan “frequently made racist comments” and also claimed that he was one of “six or seven” other players who had made bullying complaint against the pacer due to his alleged behaviour.
“For any part I played in contributing to Azeem Rafiq’s experience of feeling bullied at Yorkshire, I apologise unreservedly,” Bresnan said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Following the publication of Azeem’s witness statement from the employment tribunal, which I saw for the first time this afternoon, I must though categorically deny his accusation that I ‘frequently made racist comments’.”
In his testimony, Rafiq said he found Lloyd’s comments “disturbing” as his employers Sky were doing “amazing work on bringing racism to the front”, describing the 74-year-old as “closet racist”.
Sky said they would be investigating Lloyd’s comments.