Gary Ballance Apologises To Azeem Rafiq For His Racist Remarks

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Gary Ballance has apologised unequivocally for using “racist” language toward Azeem Rafiq while they were teammates at Yorkshire.

An independent report into allegations of racism at Yorkshire deemed the use of the word “P**i” by a player – later identified as Ballance – when referring to Rafiq as “banter” last year, according to ESPNcricinfo. Ballance expressed “regret” at the time, but explained that the language was used in the context of “a situation where best friends said offensive things to each other.”

Ballance is one of seven people charged by the ECB at Yorkshire, along with the club, following an investigation into the revelations that followed Rafiq’s emotional testimony before parliament in November 2021.

Azeem Rafiq Image Source: Twitter

I Have Accepted Gary Ballance’s Apology: Azeem Rafiq

“I have wanted to meet Azeem in person for quite some time, but I had to make sure I was in a good place when I did so, Azeem has been through similar mental health challenges and understands why this has taken me a little time. I apologise unreservedly to Azeem for the words I used when we played together. I did use unacceptable – at times, racist – language. If I had realised how much this hurt Azeem, I would have stopped immediately. That’s why I wanted to meet him this week and be clear in person that I intended no malice. That’s not an excuse, I realise that the language I used was wrong”, Balance said in his apology.

England
Azeem Rafiq[photo: Twitter]

Rafiq reacted to the apology by saying, “From day one of opening up about my experiences, all I ever wanted was acceptance and apologies for what happened.

“Gary has been brave to admit the truth and I understand why the mental strain has made it difficult for him to make this apology any sooner. Gary must be applauded for his honesty and unreserved apology and must now be allowed to get on with his life.”

Also Read: India vs Pakistan: Why Shaheen Shah Afridi Has Travelled With Pakistan Squad Despite Being Ruled Out Of Asia Cup 2022, Reveals PCB Spokesperson

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