Michael Vaughan’s return for coverage of cricket described by BBC staff as ‘totally inexcusable,’ ‘a shocking miscalculation,’ ‘damaging’ and ‘unsettling’
Colleagues from all backgrounds across the BBC share their disbelief and dismay, with some moved to tears because of the apparent lack of empathy, understanding and leadership over this. Michael Vaughan (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Kimberly Rodrigues Kumar
In the wake of the Yorkshire racism scandal, members of BBC staff have written a letter condemning the broadcaster’s decision to stand by Michael Vaughan, who allegedly said to a group of players of Asian ethnicity in 2009 that there were “too many of your lot” at the county and that “we need to do something about it.”
This was alleged by former Yorkshire bowler Azeem Rafiq and corroborated by Yorkshire and England spinner, Adil Rashid, and former Pakistan cricketer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan. However, a fourth player, Ajmal Shahzad, said he had no recollection of such a comment being made.
Vaughan has categorically denied making such a comment.
The letter, written by the BBC Sport BAME Advisory Group and 5 Live Diversity Group, strongly criticizes the BBC’s handling of Vaughan and brands the move to recall the former England cricket captain for coverage of the current series with New Zealand as “totally inexcusable” and a “shocking miscalculation.”
Earlier this month the England and Wales Cricket Board announced that Yorkshire and “a number of individuals” had been charged over an investigation into allegations of racism at the county, and how the club had handled those allegations. As detailed in the BBC staff letter and widely reported at the time, Vaughan is thought to be among those charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
The letter reads: “With Michael Vaughan implicated in this scandal and now understood to be charged by the ECB, it feels totally inexcusable that he should continue to appear, as a representative of BBC Sport.
“We appreciate that there are elements of detail that can’t be shared about Michael Vaughan’s reinstatement and that he is innocent until proven guilty. But surely, on a human level, it must be acknowledged how damaging, embarrassing and unsettling this is to many colleagues across BBC Sport, BBC Radio 5 Live, and the wider BBC as a whole.”