Sidebottom apologises for ‘poor choice of words’ on Yorkshire racism scandal Ryan Sidebottom during the PCA Christmas Lunch at Lord’s Cricket Ground in 2019. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for PCA)
YORKSHIRE’S interim coach Ryan Sidebottom has apologised for using “a poor choice of words” while discussing about the racism scandal at the club on Sky Sports.
A former Yorshire player himself, Sidebottom joined Yorkshire’s coaching staff to work under new directer of cricket Darren Gough.
Sidebottom told Sky Sports News on Monday: “It’s been tough viewing, tough listening, seeing social media. It’s been very difficult for lots of reasons for a lot of people.
“Let’s try and forget about it. There’s no room for racism in any walk of life and hopefully now we can move forward, sort things out, do the right thing and get Yorkshire back firing on all cylinders.
“But it’s been a tough couple of months hasn’t it for Yorkshire and everyone at the club.”
Former player Azeem Rafiq had alleged of being a victim of racism and harassment during his two spells as a player at Yorkshire. He criticised Sidebottom’s comments in a social media post.
In response to Sidebottom’s interview, Rafiq wrote on Twitter: “Let’s definitely not just ‘Forget it’ Learn from it and make things better. Wish it was that easy just to forget it and pretend nothing happened.”
Sidebottom later posted an apology on Twitter and said: “I’m truly sorry for any offence caused earlier by my words on @skysportsnews @SkyCricket.
“We should never forget, we must learn. I never meant to say forget. My choice of words were wrong, and an honest mistake. Here’s what I meant.
“I disagree wholeheartedly with discrimination and fully support all investigations and actions surrounding any racial abuse at Yorkshire CCC.
“In my interview with Sky Sports News I used the word ‘forget’. This is not what I meant.
“I didn’t mean that the situation should be forgotten about, on the contrary, it must never be forgotten. It was a poor choice of words.
“It is crucial that the club, and sport as a whole, learns and adapts to create a truly inclusive environment for all, at all levels.
“I apologise for any offence caused. I am now focused on supporting the playing group at Yorkshire CCC on the pitch.”
Rafiq’s racism allegations led to the resignations of chairman Roger Hutton and chief executive Mark Arthur, while 16 members of staff, including director of cricket Martyn Moxon and first-team coach Andrew Gale, were sacked.
The England and Wales Cricket Board’s investigation into Rafiq’s allegations and Yorkshire’s handling of the case is still on-going.