Since the death of career criminal and drug addict George Floyd, we have witnessed a continued assault on Sport, with a seeming determination to portray arguably the most diverse sector in Britain as ‘institutionally racist’. From knee taking to support the far left political movement of Black Lives Matter, through to a barrage of adverts throughout televised sport portraying fans as racist Neanderthals, an outsider would think sport in the UK was a cess pit of intolerance.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Having watched top flight football for decades, I haven’t heard or seen a single racist incident or comment for 25+ years. Not one. Yet every game messages on the tannoy and banners on the pitch tell me there’s a huge problem – despite the majority non-white players being hero worshipped by the crowd. It is gas-lighting to the extreme, but it is also an industry for race hustlers, NGOs and charities who need to keep the idea of racism alive to bring in income and a platform.
So it was with raised eyebrows that the public listened to the allegations of ‘systematic racism’ from cricketeer Azeem Rafiq, as for many it didn’t represent the sport they know. An eager media leapt onto the opportunity to portray the crusty old ‘white dominated’ sport as racist to the core. His claims, some of which were denied by the accused, where treated as gospel, and culminated in both resignations from Yorkshire Cricket Club and a large £200,000 compensation payout in what some saw as a hostile takeover at the the club. For perspective, the victims of grooming gangs in Rotherham were paid £2,000 compensation, so being raped is seemingly less damaging than words to a factor of one hundred. Further still, all the political class had their say, and Rafiq was invited to Westminster to give his story with parliamentary privilege in front of a select committee. What a shame the grooming gang victims haven’t had such an opportunity.
It is fair to say that many were angered by what had happened, and if you place yourself on a pedestal, you had better be sure that you don’t have skeletons in the cupboard as they will always be found by those who may be angered with the portrayal of their club.
Many also found it curious that despite Rafiq claiming his treatment was so unbearable between 2009 and 2014, he rejoined the club in 2016. Even more curious is that none of the media or anyone in the select committee thought to ask this basic and relevant question. It also has raised the question of why an internal HR matter has been hyper sensationalised to the point where Government is involved.
Common sense should dictate that a little time should be allowed to pass enabling those accused to have their right of reply. Michael Vaughan for example is accused of saying ‘there are too many of you lot’ in the team, referring to 4 muslim players, a comment denied and in contradiction to his own book. The BBC immediately suspended Vaughan for a comment that isn’t dissimilar to Jon Snow’s ‘there are too many white people’ comment on channel 4 when observing a march in London. An incredulous public wonder why words that may or may not have been said should threaten a man’s career and livelihood. What happened to an apology (if he said it), or a quiet word and a promise not to do it again? Cancel Culture has created this clearly hysterical world of uber wokeness and vindictveness that is wildly out of control. And why do we choose to believe Rafiq and not Vaughan? Is there some privilege at play perhaps?
The dust had barely settled and the counter allegations started to surface. A series of antisemitic tweets sent by Rafiq when he was 19 were published by the Daily Mail. Rafiq apologised and that should suffice of course, but what it exposed was a lack of consistency and therefore an agenda driven approach from the sport, the media and the politicians. Due to Rafiq’s age and apology, left wing activists stated this was sufficient and the matter was closed. But cricketer Ollie Robinson was just 18 when he wrote the historic racist tweets that surfaced last year, and he faced a media backlash and punishment from the cricket authorities. Is the message that racism against Jews is less serious, or is there an agenda against white only players when it comes to racism? Will Rafiq be asked why, if he found racism so unbearable, he was happy to casually engage in it against the Jewish community? Will he face any punishment at all?
Rafiq talked about the time wine was poured down his throat at the age of 15. Whilst an unpleasant incident, it is unlikely that any teenager hasn’t encountered bullying or unpleasantness in their past, they just don’t talk about it in front of Parliament to sighs and headshakes. The media also took the footage of his tears at the tragic death of his stillborn son and used it when talking about racism, clear media manipulation of extremely poor taste. At time of writing, the traumatised Rafiq hasn’t commented on the images online that have surfaced of him drinking vodka and beer at different events.
Then there is the ‘P’ word as it is called. A word so powerful it cannot be named – but a word not uncommon in the past. As ever, applying the lens of today to view historical events proves problematic. It also begs the question why muslim players don’t seem to have a problem wearing the shirts below.
The issues for Rafiq keep on coming. The Yorkshire Post has published an article stating that Rafiq has been accused of sending ‘creepy’ texts to a teenage girl 6 years ago. Nigel Farage reported on GB News that there was an allegation that Rafiq had sued YCC because of gambling debts, causing some to speculate this may have been the motivation for coming forward after leaving the club. Another muslim player has stepped forward and stated he hasn’t any racism whatsoever over his playing years. It is important to remember that the investigation found ‘no evidence whatsoever’ in seven of Rafiq’s allegations.
Alarmingly, Azeem Rafiq has stated he ‘hopes the floodgates open’ against Cricket, in what may be seen as a threat to the game. Perhaps it would now be prudent for the English Cricket Board to pause, take stock and make a statement on the various allegations that have surfaced against Rafiq, as his integrity with the public is clearly now compromised by the racism he himself engaged in.
The whole Azeem Rafiq story will in all likelihood be quietly dropped now by the media, it has served it’s purpose. Whether Rafiq will listen to calls to donate his compensation to a Jewish charity will be interesting, but the old biblical adage has proven true once again:-
Be sure your sins will find you out.