Nasser Hussain criticises Yorkshire’s ‘tone deaf’ response over Azeem Rafiq case

Former England captain Nasser Hussain has slammed Yorkshire for being "tone deaf" over their handling of their handling of the Azeem Rafiq racism case.

Rafiq first went public with his allegations over a year ago, prompting Yorkshire to commission an independent review into his claims.

Almost a year later, Yorkshire received a copy of the final report but refused to make it public, instead publishing a summary of the findings after significant public pressure.

In that summary, Yorkshire apologised to Rafiq and admitted that he had been subjected to "racial harassment and bullying" in his time at the club.

However, a month later, Yorkshire said they were "pleased" to announce that none of its current employees, players or executives would face any disciplinary action, despite several senior figures from the time of the accusations still involved at the club.

It was later reported by ESPN Cricinfo that a current Yorkshire player had been cleared of wrongdoing despite admitting that he regularly called Rafiq a "P***".

Yorkshire cleared the player, later revealed to be Gary Ballance, on the basis that the term was used as "banter".

As a result of that latest revelation, several sponsors have severed ties with the county and Hussain has described Yorkshire's response as "tone deaf".

Speaking on Sky Sports, Hussain added that the club are continuing to "mess it up" and accused them of "sending a message that this sort of mickey taking is absolutely fine".

He said: "They messed it up first time when it actually happened because no one had the guts to stand up and say: 'No, we are not doing that in this dressing room.'

"They next messed it up for years after that by not picking out people who used that terminology and they are still messing it up now when they had the option to say: 'We have changed, we will not accept this sort of behaviour'. So they continue to mess it up.

"Almost by Yorkshire saying it is just banter, they are sending a message through all their age groups that it is okay to say ‘you lot’ and ‘that corner shop must belong to your uncle’ and things like that.

"They are sending a message that this sort of mickey taking is absolutely fine and it’s not."

Both Rafiq and Yorkshire's chairman Roger Hutton will appear in front of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's select committee on November 16 to give evidence.

Rafiq will be able to use Parliamentary privilege to detail his allegations and Hussain believes people need to know the truth.

"It’s not going to be a great week or month for cricket," Hussain added. "But it’s a month that cricket needs to go through so we can finally find out what that situation was and also people involved at that time.

"It is very difficult because you want to back up your team-mate and have context but I do think it is important on both sides that people do speak up for Azeem Rafiq.

"If you firmly believe that Azeem Rafiq was racially discriminated against and you were in that dressing room, I feel please speak up about it to back him up because he has been through so much and waited so patiently for people to back him up.

"Also the flipside to that, if you do believe Gary Ballance will be in a very dark place at the moment and if you do believe you have something to say to back up his argument and give it some context then please say that as well. I do think people need to speak and get some kind of truth out of this."

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