The Yorkshire cricketer accused of calling Azeem Rafiq a ‘P**i’ is former England star Gary Ballance, MailOnline can exclusively reveal.
Mr. Ballance, 31, was also accused by Mr. Rafiq of telling other people ‘don’t talk to him (Rafiq), he’s a P**i, asking ‘is that your uncle?’ when bearded Asian men were in view and saying about corner shops: ‘Does your Dad own those?’.
He is 30 years old.
According to the report, at least one Yorkshire player admitted to regularly using the term ‘P**i’ when talking to Azeem Rafiq about racism at the club. But he was cleared of wrongdoing on the basis that it was perceived as, what the report says was, friendly, good-natured “banter” between the two players.
The player also admitted to telling other people, “don’t talk to him [Rafiq], he’s a P**i,” asking “is that your uncle?” when they saw bearded Asian men and saying, “does your dad own those?” about corner shops.
Despite admitting that Rafiq broke down in tears at one point, the player insisted he had no idea he was offending and would have stopped if Rafiq had asked.
The individual concerned, who ESPNcricinfo has chosen not to name, is a current senior player at the club.
While the investigating team (the lawyers who were charged with gathering evidence for the report) found such comments to be “capable of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment…” and accepted Rafiq’s “evidence that he was offended, degraded or humiliated and that this amounted to harassment under the Equality Act and the Club’s Equal Opportunities policy,” the panel (who were charged with making conclusions and recommendations and which included a non-executive member of the Yorkshire board) disagreed.
Their conclusions state, “The Panel does not accept that Azeem was offended by [the other player’s] comments, either at the time they were made or subsequently.”
They go on to say that, in the context of “banter between friends,” Rafiq might be “expected to take such comments in the spirit in which they were intended (i.e. good-natured banter between friends)… [so] it was not reasonable for Azeem to have been offended by [the other player] directing equally offensive or derogatory comments back at him in the same spirit of friendly banter.”
Indeed, the panel accuses Rafiq of using “offensive, racially derogatory comments” when referring to a player of Zimbabwean heritage as “Zimbo from Zimbabwe.” The board viewed this as “a racist, derogatory term” and recommends that were Rafiq still a Yorkshire player. He should face disciplinary action for using it.
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