Michael Vaughan deserves ‘second chance’, says England cricket chief

Refusing to give people opportunity to make good ‘not a healthy way forward’ – Ashley Giles

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has been left out of the BBC’s coverage team for the Ashes for ‘editorial reasons’. Photograph: PA

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has been left out of the BBC’s coverage team for the Ashes for ‘editorial reasons’. Photograph: PA

 

Ashley Giles, managing director of the England men’s cricket team, has indicated he believes Michael Vaughan should be given a chance to be rehabilitated and resume his media career after allegations of racism made against him by Azeem Rafiq.

Giles said 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 replied that refusing to give people a second chance and an opportunity to be educated was “not a healthy way forward” for the sport.

Vaughan has been fighting for his media career and reputation ever since Rafiq alleged that before a match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 2009 he told him and three other Yorkshire players of Asian descent: “Too many of you lot, we need to do something about it.”

He has denied strenuously ever saying those words, while two other players – Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and the England spinner Adil Rashid – have backed up Rafiq’s account of that day.

Vaughan denied the allegation again during an interview with the BBC’s Dan Walker on Saturday, although he did apologise to Rafiq for “the hurt” he had gone through at Yorkshire.

The 47-year-old, who has been dropped from the BBC’s coverage of the upcoming Ashes series in Australia, was also forced during that BBC interview to apologise for historic xenophobic tweets, including one posted in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017 that suggested the England all-rounder Moeen Ali should ask fellow Muslims he did not know if they were terrorists.

Asked specifically about Vaughan’s situation, Giles, who is in Brisbane with England’s Ashes squad, replied: “I can’t comment on what the BBC should do with one of their employees. But I think tolerance is really important. We all do make mistakes and we will again. But we have to be able to tolerate, educate and rehabilitate otherwise people aren’t going to open up and share their experiences and learn.

Vaughan under pressure

Michael Vaughan said on Saturday he was sorry for the “hurt” Azeem Rafiq had suffered at Yorkshire . . . not giving people second chances, I’m not sure that’s a healthy way forward for us . . . We all know that this can be a bit of a minefield. Even the language we use around this area almost changes by the month. So for me we’ve got to educate more, we’ve got to call it out in the dressing room much more effectively . . . I think it’s a collective responsibility for all of us to do something about this.”

Giles also gave his backing for England captain Joe Root to stop any Ashes Test where he felt his players were being abused by the crowd on the basis of their race or nationality.

“We know crowds can be lively here. I’ve experienced that myself as a player,” said Giles . “But I’d certainly trust Joe Root to do what is right on the field. If he chose to bring the team into the middle of the field and stop the game while that was investigated, then absolutely. I don’t think any of our players should be subject to any abuse actually but discrimination and racism particularly.”

Giles also confirmed he is talking to his Australian counterparts over how the new Omicron Covid variant may affect England’s Ashes tour. Several Australian states tightened their border restrictions over the weekend and there is a concern some players’ families who are flying into Melbourne before Christmas might be forced to quarantine on arrival if the situation deteriorates. – Guardian

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