Ashley Giles, the England men’s team manager, has indicated that he believes Michael Vaughan should be given a chance to be rehabilitated and resume his media career following accusations of racism against him by Azeem Rafiq.
Giles admitted there was no place for racism in cricket, but when asked specifically about Vaughan, his former England captain with whom he won the 2005 Ashes, he insisted that refusing to give people a second chance and a chance to get an education was not a healthy way. ahead for the sport.
Vaughan has been fighting for his media career and reputation since Rafiq claimed that before a 2009 match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, he told him and three other Yorkshire players of Asian descent: Too many of you, we have to do something about it.
He has strenuously denied ever saying those words, while two other players Rana Naveed Ul-Hasan and English spinner Adil Rashid have backed up Rafiq’s account from that day.
Vaughan again denied the allegation during an interview with BBC Dan Walker on Saturday, though he apologized to Rafiq for the pain he had endured in Yorkshire.
The 47-year-old, who has been omitted from BBC coverage of Australia’s upcoming Ashes series, was also forced to apologize during that BBC interview for a series of historic xenophobic tweets, including one posted in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 that suggested English all-rounder Moeen Ali to ask fellow Muslims he didn’t know were terrorists.
Asked specifically about Vaughan’s situation, Giles, who is in Brisbane with England’s Ashes squad, said: I cannot comment on what the BBC should be doing with any of their employees. But I think tolerance is very important.
We all make mistakes and we will do it again. But we must be able to tolerate, educate and rehabilitate, otherwise people will not open up and share their experiences and learn.
Does zero tolerance mean that we should not accept discrimination and racism? Absolute. But not giving people a second chance, I’m not sure if that’s a healthy way forward for us, because it certainly won’t bring people forward to share their positive or negative experiences or even bring people forward to say, I just don’t know, I don’t know how to react in this environment or what to say.
We all know this can be a bit of a minefield. Even the language we use in this area changes almost by the month. So for me we need to educate more, we need to say it much more effectively in the dressing room when we see it because maybe in the past we have all and I’m not just talking about cricket, let go of things. We have to be prepared to call them out and by that I don’t mean knock over chairs and tables and start a fight. We’re just making it very clear that this kind of behavior is not good in our locker rooms or environments and really in all workplaces because while cricket has the potential to do something very strong, I don’t believe for a minute that the same issues don’t exist in society . So I think it’s a collective responsibility of all of us to do something about this.
Giles also backed England captain Joe Root to stop any Ashes Test where he felt his players were being abused by the mob based on their race or nationality. We know crowds can be lively here. I experienced that myself as a player, Giles said. But I would certainly trust Joe Root to do what is right on the field. If he chose to take the team to the center of the field and stop play while that was being investigated, then absolutely. I don’t think any of our players should be exposed to any kind of abuse, but in particular to discrimination and racism.
Giles also confirmed that he is talking to his Australian counterparts about how the new Omicron Covid variant could affect England’s Ashes tour. Several Australian states have tightened their border restrictions over the weekend and there are concerns that some player families flying to Melbourne before Christmas could be forced into quarantine on arrival if the situation worsens.
It’s very early days, but I got a call after this to discuss the situation, Giles said. Sure hoped it wouldn’t affect anything. There will be changes in those border controls in terms of our families being able to travel etc. and we clearly hope this will not affect us. But we are in the hands of national and local governments.
We always knew things could change. We will do everything we can to ensure that the families are accommodated and of course that the players are happy.
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