Michael Vaughan apologises to Azeem Rafiq for ‘hurt’ caused during the racism controversy

Michael Vaughan apologises to Azeem Rafiq for ‘hurt’ caused during the racism controversy

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Michael Vaughan has spoken publicly for the first time since the racism allegations


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Former England skipper Michael Vaughan has apologised to former Yorkshire cricketer Azeem Rafiq for the ‘hurt’ caused during the racism controversy. Vaughan has spoken publicly for the first time since he was implicated to have passed racist comments on Rafiq during a match in 2009 at Trent Bridge.

Micahel Vaughan’s racist comments on Asian players in the Yorkshire side during an incident in 2009 were revealed by Azeem Rafiq in a detailed allegation report. Pointing to a group of four players during a match at Trent Bridge, the former England captain had allegedly said, "There are too many of you lot; we need to do something about it". However, Vaughan continued to deny the allegations made by Rafiq, and stated that he never made any racist remarks to cricketers while playing at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

A few days earlier, the former England skipper was sacked from the BBC commentary panel for the Ashes team, in the wake of allegations.

Meanwhile, in an interview with BBC Breakfast shown on Saturday morning, Vaughan apologised to Rafiq for the hurt that caused during the racism controversy.

"I'm sorry for the hurt that has gone through," Vaughan said. "Yorkshire Cricket Club, I believe, is me. It has been my life whether I have been a player or not, I believe that once you have played for Yorkshire you are always a Yorkshire player and I am sorry for all the hurt that he has gone through.

'That hurts," Vaughan added, "because I've always felt that every single team that I have been involved in, the biggest praise I ever got as England captain for six years was that I was the kind of person that really galvanized the group, got the team working together as one. I wanted everyone in the dressing room to feel included.

"Time can never be a healer but hopefully time can be a way of Yorkshire Cricket Club never going through this situation again, and not putting themselves in a position of denial that they treated the players so badly."

Reflecting on the incident in 2009, Vaughan reckoned that he doesn’t remember making those comments. The former England captain further added that he was proud to have four Asain heritage players in the club.

"I don't [remember saying that]," Vaughan said. "My recollection from that day, as I've said, I was a Yorkshire player for 18 years, I was the first player to sign for that club that was not born in the county, so for 18 years we had gone from me being the first to sign for the club, Sachin Tendulkar being the first from overseas, to players being able to sign from other clubs.

"It was my last few games and I remember it clearly that I was proud as punch that we had four Asian players representing Yorkshire Cricket Club."

In the course of the interview with the BBC, a few of Vaughan's old tweets were read out including 'Not many English people live in London... I need to learn a new language'.

The 47-year-old admitted he was embarrassed by the tweets he posted in the past, which have been widely shared in recent weeks.

"I look back at my 12 years in social media, I regret many tweets," Vaughan said. "I apologise deeply to anyone I offended with those tweets.

"We all make mistakes and, in my life, I've made quite a few mistakes on Twitter. I apologise for that, but I can't suddenly get rid of it. That's happened, but I think sometimes through social media, people can presume who you are and interpret who you are because of a tweet or two. I know who I am, and I hope the people around me, who were close to me, know exactly who I am."

The 48-year-old added that he is hopeful of proving his innocence to the people.

"It'll take time. I've no doubt about that. But I'm sure over time people will see that the true me.

"I won't be doing the Ashes. I understand the story is all about Azeem Rafiq and racism in cricket. I just hope in time I will have that chance to come back. The one thing I have loved more than anything since retiring is talking cricket, and I hope I can do that again," Vaughan added.

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