Joe Root stands by his claim that he does not remember racism in Yorkshire

Joe Root stands by his claim that he has no recollection of witnessing incidents of racism in Yorkshire after Azeem Rafiq described England captain’s denial as ‘hurtful’ during his explosive DCMS committee hearing

  • Joe Root stands by his statement that he has no recollection of racism in Yorkshire
  • Azeem Rafiq said he found Root’s denial of hearing racist language ‘hurtful’
  • Rafiq also said he found the comments from England captain Root ‘strange’.
  • Root – who has sent messages to Rafiq – says he never heard anything inappropriate


England captain Joe Root insists he stands by his statement that he has no recollection of witnessing racism in Yorkshire.

Azeem Rafiq said he found Root’s denial of ever hearing racist language “hurtful” when he gave his poignant testimony to lawmakers earlier this month about the abuse he suffered during two spells in the province.

Rafiq found Root’s comments, issued before its appearance before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, “strange” and said it indicated how normalized such language was in Yorkshire.

England captain Joe Root insists he stands by his statement that he has no recollection of witnessing racism in Yorkshire.

Azeem Rafiq said he found Root’s denial of hearing racist language ‘hurtful’ at a DCMS hearing

Root – who said he had exchanged messages with Rafiq since giving testimony – insists he never heard anything inappropriate.

“I stand by what I’ve said. I don’t remember those incidents and, you know, if there’s oversight on my part, that’s an area we all need to learn from and learn from,” Root said.

Root, who also said he had a dialogue with the new Yorkshire chairman, Lord Patel, was praised in 2019 for uttering allegedly homophobic language during a match against the West Indies.

“There have been other things happening on the cricket pitch where I feel like I’ve stepped in and called out things, and I think it’s because of growth and learning and understanding and education,” he said.

“There is so much work that needs to be done. So much energy has to be put into this.’

Rafiq (center) celebrates the 2012 Yorkshire Seal promotion to Division One with former teammates Root (left) and Gary Ballance (right)

Rafiq (center) celebrates Yorkshire Seal’s promotion to Division One in 2012 with former teammates Root (left) and Gary Ballance (right)

The England and Wales cricket board on Friday unveiled a match-wide 12-point action plan to fight discrimination in sport. Within it will be an overview of the dressing room culture.

Rafiq told MPs that his use of the name ‘Kevin’ as a derogatory term to describe a person of color by his Yorkshire team-mate, Gary Ballance, was an open secret in the England dressing room.

Root said there was a

Root said there was a “huge amount of grief” among Rafiq’s former teammates over the turmoil he had faced

Asked about that claim, Root said, “That’s part of a live investigation and because of that investigation I can’t talk about it at the moment.

“Obviously that’s an expression you shouldn’t be using in any part of society.”

Root said there was a “huge amount of grief” among Rafiq’s former teammates over the turmoil he had faced.

“I think there’s a lot to learn,” he added.

“We need to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and we need to do everything we can to make sure cricket is as inclusive as possible.

“Obviously we need to keep looking to get better and really improve our sport as much as possible individually, and have those conversations, those difficult conversations, those awkward conversations that will make this a much better process.”

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