Reprimand for cricketer who nicknamed India's Pujara 'Steve'

·2-min read

The cricketer who dubbed Cheteshwar Pujara 'Steve' while they played for Yorkshire has been reprimanded by current club Somerset after apologising to the India batsman in the fallout from the Azeem Rafiq case that has sent shockwaves through the English game.

Pakistan-born Rafiq told a UK parliamentary committee on Tuesday how racist language was "constantly" used during his two spells at Yorkshire, with his case leading to further revelations of racism at other English counties.

The 30-year-old Rafiq, who apologised on Thursday for sending anti-Semitic messages as a teenager, also recalled how fast bowler Jack Brooks had named Pujara 'Steve' because he struggled to pronounce the India star's forename.

"With reference to my naming in Azeem Rafiq's statement to MPs this week, the use of the name 'Steve' related to some people having difficult names to pronounce," said Brooks in a statement issued Thursday.

"When this has occurred in the past in a dressing room environment, it has been commonplace to give nicknames, regardless of creed or race."

The 37-year-old added: "I admit to having used it in this context and now accept that it was disrespectful and wrong to do so. I have reached out and apologised to Cheteshwar for any offence that I have caused him or his family.

"At the time I didn't recognise this as racist behaviour, but I can now see that it was not acceptable."

Brooks also apologised Thursday for using the word "negro" in a conversation on Twitter nine years ago with England fast bowler Tymal Mills and Stewart Laudat, with whom he played minor counties cricket for Oxfordshire.

- 'Regret' -

The tweets were sent when Brooks was at Northamptonshire.

"I acknowledge that the language used in two tweets I made in 2012 was unacceptable and I deeply regret using it," said Brooks, who insisted he had never intended to cause "distress" to his two friends.

"It is my understanding that neither individual was offended at the time, but I accept that language is important and that a word I used may have caused offence to others," Brooks added.

Mills said he had accepted a profuse apology from Brooks, a "good friend" who had "regrets" over his comments.

"I believe it is right that both as a sport and as a society, we must go through a thorough process of reflection and introspection regarding the language we use towards each other and how we treat each other," added Mills in a statement.

Somerset said they had reprimanded Brooks, who would now be taking part in "extensive" training on equality, diversity and inclusivity at the club's behest.

"Somerset CCC condemn the use of language which has any racist connotations," said a statement from the club.

"Jack agrees with this sentiment and is embarrassed and devastated that his comments offended people," it added.

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