British Cricket Player Apologizes for Antisemitic Exchange
Former UK cricketer Azeem Rafiq apologized on Thursday for using antisemitic language in an exchange of messages with another cricketer from 2011.
Rafiq, a player of Pakistani descent, this week testified before a British parliamentary committee and spoke of the discrimination he faced while playing for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, saying the sport in England was riddled with racism.
The messages, revealed by the UK’s Times, were exchanged with Leicestershire cricketer Ateeq Javid. They appeared to show the pair disparaging another individual as unlikely to spend money on a meal out because “he is a jew,” among other derogatory remarks.
“I was sent an image of this exchange from early 2011 today. I have gone back to check my account and it is me. I have absolutely no excuses,” Rafiq, 30, wrote in a statement on Twitter.
“I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offense. I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today. I am incredibly angry at myself and I apologize to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this.”
Dave Rich of the Community Security Trust nonprofit said that the “anti-Jewish slurs” exposed were “really bad, and very common.”
“Just another window on what passes for ‘banter’ about Jews,” Rich said on Twitter, sharing screenshots of the comments. “But his apology comes across as a proper apology, and that is a lot less common.”