Kick It Out considers today’s findings from the Cricket Discipline Commission as a difficult but necessary step in the process of helping cricket heal and reform.
It has been a bruising episode for the game and special mention should be made to the victims who came forward to highlight a toxic culture at Yorkshire CCC. Azeem Rafiq has shown great courage for which he has paid a heavy price.
Many of today’s headlines are about former England captain Michael Vaughan. But five of the six people accused in the report were found to have used racist and/or discriminatory language with an additional two defendants pleading guilty (including Yorkshire CCC). This indicates a culture where the casual use of racist language had become normalised. The focus should now be on how cricket can learn lessons and ensure that this behaviour is not repeated.
There is likely more pain to come, but today’s findings and those from the upcoming Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket report must be a starting point towards a more inclusive game.
Kick It Out has already been speaking to the England & Wales Cricket Board about how this can happen. After consultation with former England cricketer Michael Carberry and cricket development expert Dr Tom Brown, we have made suggestions about addressing cricket’s culture, how it can begin its process of reconciliation and what practices can be in place to better support players.
The game’s institutions, including the ECB, need to use today’s judgement as a springboard to carve out a future where victims are heard and where underrepresented groups have equal opportunities to fulfil their potential in a safe and inclusive environment.
Kick It Out stands ready to support the game on this journey, and we hope that cricket has the courage and resolve to take the necessary next steps on that road.