England managing director Ashley Giles says cricket has to do much better in tackling racism but pleaded for those who had made “mistakes” to be given a second chance.
English cricket has been rocked by damaging revelations of racism from Pakistan-born former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq, who made a number of allegations against high-profile figures in the sport.
One allegation is that former England captain Vaughan told Rafiq and other Yorkshire players of Asian origin that there were “too many of you lot” during a county match.
Vaughan, who has “categorically denied” the allegation, was subsequently left out of the BBC commentary team for the Ashes to avoid a “conflict of interest”.
Giles, speaking to British reporters from the team’s base in Australia on Sunday, said the England squad had reflected on the Rafiq issue and hearing his story had been “hard to listen to”.
The former Test bowler said cricket had to do “much better… discrimination of any form just isn’t acceptable” but he also stressed that it was important to give people second chances.
“For me if zero tolerance means we cut people off, we don’t give second chances, we don’t give people a chance to rehabilitate then I think we’ve got a problem,” he said.
“We all do make mistakes and we will again, but we have to be able to tolerate and educate and rehabilitate, otherwise people aren’t going to open up, they’re not going to share their experiences.”
Giles said many of England’s touring party had listened to Rafiq’s testimony to British lawmakers about his experiences earlier this month.
“I’ve been involved in the game over the last 30 years and I’m sure there will be incidents and things I’ve said that I wouldn’t be proud of in a different time and a different context,” he said
“I’m sure cricket’s not alone in those experiences but it’s clear we need to keep creating environments where people can keep coming forward and sharing those experiences and we can talk about these issues. And to do that we need to educate, we need to share and I also think we need to tolerate.”