Alex Hales has “categorically and absolutely” denied “any racial connotation” in naming his dog ‘Kevin’ after Azeem Rafiq’s alleged the name was used by former Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance “to describe people of colour”.
Azeem Rafiq’s battle against Yorkshire and the prevailing racist culture has gained weight as he was asked to speak at a hearing before the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee.
When asked about references to the word “Kevin” in Yorkshire’s controversial report, Rafiq that it was a derogatory word used by Ballance to describe non-white players. He added that Alex Hales may have picked up on the word and named his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black.
Alex Hales, the discarded England batsman who plays for Nottinghamshire, issued a statement regarding this on Wednesday.
“Having heard the allegations made against me, I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog, Alex Hales said.
“I entirely respect and have huge sympathy for both the stance Azeem Rafiq has taken and what he has had to endure. His evidence was harrowing.
“There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in cricket and I will gladly cooperate with any investigation the game’s authorities choose to hold. Neither I nor my representatives will be making any further comment on the matter,” he added.
Nottinghamshire initiates an “appropriate internal process” over Alex Hales
Nottinghamshire, Alex Hales’ county club, have now started an “appropriate internal process” regarding this issue involving the right-handed batsman.
“Following on from the testimony provided to the DCMS Select Committee regarding Alex Hales, we have commenced the appropriate internal process and will continue to liaise with Alex and his advisers accordingly,” a club statement said.
The club also asked anyone who wishes to share information or discuss their experiences to come forward – either directly or through the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket (ICEC).
“We would encourage anyone who wishes to share concerns or discuss their experiences to come forward and speak freely… it is vital that individuals do so, in order for the game of cricket to learn and move forward together,” the statement added.
Rafiq also said that it was “disgusting how much of a joke” the name ‘Kevin’ was made about.
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