Rafiq open to meeting Vaughan after racism case

Vaughan was acquitted on Friday by a panel of the Cricket Discipline Commission of using racist language towards Rafiq and three other Yorkshire players of Asian descent before a match in 2009.

The panel found charges against five other people formerly linked to the club established.

Vaughan met Rafiq 18 months ago in what the 48-year-old described as “positive and constructive talks” before the England and Wales Cricket Board brought charges, and Rafiq says he is ready to speak to Vaughan again.

“The only thing I’ve always tried is try to get into a room and have conversations because I’ve always felt that we’re only going to get things better when people start having conversations with each other and each other understand the other’s perspective,” the 32-year-old told the PA news agency.

“And from that point of view, I would always be open to it.”

When asked if he would welcome meeting Vaughan in the future, Rafiq replied, “Yes, absolutely. Ultimately, it can’t be about me, it can’t be about Michael. This has to be about the game and the bugs of the game up to this point.

Michael Vaughan has been acquitted of using racist language by a CDC panelMichael Vaughan acquitted of using racist language by a CDC panel (James Manning/PA)

“I think the game has a chance through the CDC results, but also through the ICEC report (the results of the Independent Commission on Equity in Cricket, which are expected to be released this week).

“The game has a very simple selection. Either it will face its mistakes and really commit and move forward together, or it will live on the level of denial it has continued for a long time and we will end up with another Azeem Rafiq in 20 years, or probably not even that long.”

Vaughan said the dismissal of the charges against him “didn’t take anything away from Azeem’s own lived experiences.” The charges against the seven other defendants in the CDC case were either admitted or found to be established.

Vaughan’s statement said he remains interested in “making positive change in any way” and Rafiq said there could be a role for Vaughan.

“I’m in no position to make those decisions. (But) If there is a willingness – absolutely, I think so,” Rafiq added.

Rafiq says the abuse he has faced on social media has increased significantly since Friday.

“The level of abuse since Friday feels like two and a half years in three days,” he said.

“I’ve been repeatedly called the P-word, I’ve had a couple of tweets where I’ve been called ‘Rafa the Kaffir’. I actually reported one to Twitter and got an email this morning saying it wasn’t breaking the rules,” he said.

“We keep having the same conversations and you know, it’s just really sad.”

The treatment Rafiq has faced could make other whistleblowers think twice about speaking up, but he insists it’s important for people to speak up.

“It was hard. The inside of me is broken to the very core. The level of trust that’s been broken in me — I don’t know if that will ever heal,” he said.

“The next thing I do I think will determine whether people are going to come forward and so I’m very determined to make sure what’s happening to me is positive.

“Regarding the abuse and attacks, it was clearly a message to everyone else, ‘Don’t come forward.’

“But my message to everyone else is, ‘Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t be a spectator. Stand up for what you believe in and you will have a lot more support than I have.

Rafiq still sees a future for himself in the sport, despite the personal pain of the last three years since he first spoke out.

“I’ve been portrayed as 150 things and, you know, I’m committed to going out there and making sure I’m sticking to my morals and my values ​​and what I believe in, but I also want to have some fun – I want a few do fun things,” he said.

“I’d love to get into cricket, whether it’s a broadcasting role, media stuff or, you know, administration and leadership.

“I don’t know where or when that’s happening at this point. But ultimately, cricket is something I absolutely love and adore. Nothing will mean more to me than being able to play a big part in what is arguably the toughest time for the game, to capitalize on that and to help push the game forward relentlessly so that everyone can come to cricket and feel respected and valued.”

https://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/23431716.rafiq-open-meeting-vaughan-wake-racism-case/?ref=rss Rafiq open to meeting Vaughan after racism case

Russell Falcon

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