'Deep regret': Cricket legend's 'disturbing' text messages come to light

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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David 'Bumble' Lloyd (pictured) before commentary.
David 'Bumble' Lloyd has apologised after being dragged into the English racism scandal. (Getty Images)

Cricket great David 'Bumble' Lloyd has apologised after he was embroiled in the racism scandal that has rocked English cricket.

Cricketer Azeem Rafiq has delivered an emotional and explosive account of his experiences of racism at Yorkshire in front of a Parliamentary committee, with a series of new and shocking allegations that implicate a handful of high-profile former England players.

The English and Wales Cricket Board has been dealing with the fallout from a number of allegations, coming down hard on the Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) after backlash over its handling of allegations.

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Former English captain Michael Vaughan also denied allegations he said a racist remark towards Rafiq.

However, Rafiq has now named legendary commentator Lloyd in the hearing.

Rafiq alleged Lloyd tried to 'smear' him after he claimed there were messages - allegedly racially insensitive-messages - that were sent from Lloyd to another media member.

The messages were about the former Yorkshire player's attempt to expose alleged racism in cricket.

"I sat in front of national TV and talked about the dark places this whole episode has got me into and what's happened since then? Denial, briefings, cover-ups, smearing," Rafiq told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee in a hearing.

"High-profile media people messaging other members of the media who supported me saying stuff like 'the club houses are the life blood of a club and Asian players don't go in there', 'getting subs out of Asian players is like getting blood out of stone'. 

"And then personally this guy doesn't even know me, has never spent any time with me, is talking about my personal drinking, going out and socialising.

"That was David Lloyd, he's been an England coach, commentator, and I found it disturbing because Sky are supposedly doing this amazing work on bringing racism to the front and within a week of me speaking out that's what I got sent to me.

"And I thought, 'gosh, there's some closet racists and we need to do something about it'."

David 'Bumble' Lloyd apologises to Rafiq

Following the hearing, Lloyd issued an apology and said he would be working hard to make the sport more inclusive in the future.

"I deeply regret my actions, and I apologise most sincerely to Azeem and to the Asian cricket community for doing this, and for any offence caused," he added.

Sky Sports announced they would be investigating the incident.

"Sky is committed to actively championing inclusion in cricket - and in all sports - and opposing all forms of discrimination," a statement read.

"We will be investigating the comments attributed to David Lloyd in today's select committee hearing."

English cricket hearing rocks sport

During a lengthy appearance in front of MPs on Tuesday, Rafiq offered up a damning and damaging account of his life in the English game before the publication of a written statement escalated matters even further.

Over the course of bombshell day for the sport in England, ex-international players Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, Alex Hales and Gary Ballance were all subject to fresh claims of racial discrimination that paint a torrid picture of how Rafiq's dream career turned into a battle against depression.

Rafiq said the only time he was not routinely mistreated during a decade at Yorkshire was when Australian Jason Gillespie was head coach.

The 30-year-old broke down in tears as he detailed the “inhuman” treatment he suffered, claiming a senior club official even “ripped the shreds” off him just one day after he was informed of the death of his baby. 

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