‘Ashamed’ Rafiq apologises after anti-Semitic messages are revealed

County Cricket

Racism whistleblower Azeem Rafiq has issued an apology after it was revealed he had sent anti-Semitic messages to a fellow player more than a decade ago.

Former Yorkshire spinner Rafiq has won widespread praise for his resolve in highlighting the issue of racial discrimination in cricket and appeared before a parliamentary select committee this week to lift the lid on his own bitter experiences.

Azeem Rafiq hopeful that the ‘floodgates’ will open because of his speaking on racism

He pointed the finger at a number of high-profile individuals during his Westminster appearance, but on Thursday he was forced to confront his own past shortcomings when The Times uncovered an exchange with former Warwickshire and Leicestershire player Ateeq Javid.

In it, Rafiq makes offensive remarks about an unidentified Jewish person. Having reviewed the messages, Rafiq has confirmed they are authentic but that he is furious at his own actions.

“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,” he said on Twitter.

“I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offence. 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 apologise to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this.”

Azeem Rafiq still a light shining on cricket’s darkness

Rafiq rocked the sport at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Tuesday, when he outlined in disturbing detail his own account of racial harassment and discrimination.

Between that and a newly published employment tribunal witness statement he made several fresh allegations against high-profile individuals, including ex-England players Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan, Matthew Hoggard and Alex Hales, and expects the spotlight he has attracted to encourage others to speak up in their droves.

The Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC) chair Cindy Butts said on Wednesday that over 1,000 people have already come forward since it called for evidence last week.