Michael Vaughan breaks his silence: Ashes winning England captain says ‘I’m sorry’ to Azeem Rafiq amid racism allegations, as ex-cricketer insists he was ‘proud as punch’ of Asian stars who played for Yorkshire
Michael Vaughan has broken his silence when the former England captain insisted he was ‘proud as punch’ of Asian stars who played for Yorkshire following accusations made against him by Azeem Rafiq.
Vaughan, 47, was accused by former Yorkshire star Rafeeq and two other Asian team-mates of saying ‘too much of you, we need to do something about it’ ahead of a 2009 county cricket match.
The former cricketer has been withdrawn from their Ashes coverage by the BBC this winter for ‘editorial reasons’, while several of his sponsors have distanced themselves.
And in his first interview since the scandal broke, Vaughan told the BBC he had “no recollection” of the incident in question before apologizing to Rafiq for the pain he felt.
He said ‘not me’ [remember], my memory of that day I said I was a Yorkshire player for 18 years, I was the first player to sign for that club who wasn’t born in the county, so for 18 years we’ve moved away from me being the first was to sign for the club, with Sachin Tendulkar being the first from abroad, to players who can sign from other clubs.
“It was my last few games and I clearly remember being so proud that we had four Asian players representing the Yorkshire cricket club.”
Vaughan added that the explosive charge against him “hurts” as he insisted he made an effort to create an inclusive locker room environment.
“That hurts because I’ve always felt like every team I’ve been involved with, the biggest credit I’ve ever received as England captain for six years was that I was the kind of person who really encouraged the group, the team got to work together as one. I wanted everyone in the locker room to feel like they belong,” he said.
Referring to Rafiq, the former England captain apologized for “all the pain he went through” and said cricket should not “place itself in a position of denial”.
“I’m sorry for the pain he went through,” he said. ‘Yorkshire Cricket Club I believe it’s me, it’s been my life whether I’m a player or not, I believe once you’ve played for Yorkshire you’ll always be a Yorkshire player and I’m sorry for all pain he has lost through.
“Time can never be a healer, but hopefully time can be a way that the Yorkshire Cricket Club will never go through this situation again and not put themselves in a position of denial for having treated the players so badly.
“Looking back on my 12 years in social media, I regret a lot of tweets. I apologize to anyone I have offended with these tweets.
“I won’t do the Ashes, I understand the story is about Azeem Rafiq and racism in cricket. I just hope I get the chance to come back in time. The one thing I’ve loved more than anything since retirement is talking cricket, and I hope I can do that again.’
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