Alex Hales
Alex Hales. Image-Sky Sports.

Discarded England batsman Alex Hales has landed in more trouble regarding the racism topic which has taken English cricket by storm.

After Azeem Rafiq had hit out against Alex Hales for naming his black dog “Kevin”, a picture of the opener has gone viral on the internet wherein he had painted his face all black at a fancy dress party.

Alex Hales has defended himself saying it was a tribute to a US  rapper, the late Tupac Shakur. The Sun newspaper published the image on Thursday and said it was taken at a New Year’s Eve party in 2009.

Alex Hales
Alex Hales. (Photo: Getty Images)

“In 2009, I attended a New Year’s Eve musical tribute fancy dress party. I dressed in tribute to my musical hero, Tupac Shakur, someone who I’ve admired from childhood and, at the time, did not realise the offensive nature of this. I echo my statement from earlier in the week and stress how much I deplore racism and discrimination in all its forms,” Alex Hales told The Sun.

He has since been heavily criticised by anti-racism campaigners and MPs, while the ECB said it was investigating.

MP Julian Knight said, “This picture — coming on the back of a week when cricket was shamed like never before — is incredibly disturbing and offensive. The very soul of English cricket is now at stake.”

Alex Hales denied “any racial connotation” in naming his dog ‘Kevin’

Alex Hales has “categorically and absolutely” denied “any racial connotation” in naming his dog ‘Kevin’ after Azeem Rafiq alleged the name was used by former Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance “to describe people of colour”.

Rafiq’s battle against Yorkshire and the prevailing racist culture has gained weight; 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 believed that Alex Hales may have picked up on the word and named his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black.

Alex Hales, England, Shane Bond
Alex Hales [Image Credit: Getty]
The opener 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.

Rafiq also said that it was “disgusting how much of a joke” the name ‘Kevin’ was made about.

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