Azeem Rafiq, a British-Pakistani cricketer, playing for the Yorkshire Cricket Club says he was forced to drink red wine at his local cricket club at the age of 15. Rafiq made harrowing revelations in his talk with the MPs, regarding his allegations of facing inhuman treatment and racism at the local county.
“I got pinned down at my local cricket club and had red wine poured down my throat, literally down my throat,” says Azeem Rafiq who identifies himself as a cricketer.
He broke into tears while narrating his experiences of facing racism at the local cricket club. Rafiq first alleged racial harassment and bullying against the county and accused them of racial harassment last year in September.
In his video comments he said, “Pretty early on at the club, I joined a dressing room full of my heroes, Michael Vaughan, Matthew Hoggard, part of the 2005 Ashes team. And it was just the most surreal moment for me.
“Pretty early on, me and other people from an Asian background…there were comments such as ‘you’ll sit over there near the toilets’, ‘elephant washers’. The word P*** was used constantly. And there just seemed to be an acceptance in the institution from the leaders and no one ever stamped it out.”
This Muslim cricketer says he was forced to drink wine when he was 15 at his local cricket club. Racial abuse has haunted him ever since.
Azeem Rafiq breaks into tears while describing the racism he faced while playing for the UK cricket club. pic.twitter.com/yFtz1ymMzq
— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 16, 2021
Rafiq added: “All I wanted to do is play cricket and play for England and live my dream and live my family’s dream. In my first spell, I don’t really think I quite realized what it was. I think I was in denial.”
Isolation and humiliation: A stark reality for Rafiq
He said racial slurs were passed on him in presence of the coaching staff. Rafiq said he left Yorkshire in 2014 due to his deteriorating mental health conditions.
Rafiq said he returned and felt settled under the captain Alex Lees and coach Jason Gillespie. “Jason left in 2016 and it just felt the temperature in the room had been turned up,” Rafiq said. “You had Andrew Gale coming in as coach and Gary Ballance as captain.
“For the first time I started to see for what it was – I felt isolated, humiliated at times. Constant use of the word ‘P***’.”
“We were in a place and Gary Ballance walks over and goes, ‘Why are you talking to him? You know he’s a P***’. This happened in front of teammates. It happened in front of the coaching staff,” said Rafiq.
Batter Balance had admitted using the racial slur P***I against him in a lengthy statement issued earlier this month, however, he depicted it as part of the long friendship. Rafiq rejected his statement and said that the situation became worse by 2013 and turned toxic by 2017.