English cricket’s handling of racism scandal shows actions always speak louder than words

English cricket’s handling of racism scandal shows actions always speak louder than words
English cricket’s handling of racism scandal shows actions always speak louder than words

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - English cricket’s handling of racism scandal shows actions always speak louder than words

DUBAI: The more things change in English cricket, the more they stay the same.

And it seems that the actions of the game’s leaders are very clear.

From the England and Wales Cricket Board to the Professional Cricketers’ Association and the counties, there has been no shortage of grand apologies for the suffering of ethnic minorities in the game over recent years.

Our concerns, we were promised, would be heard and addressed. We are still waiting.

The reinstatement of Colin Graves as chairman at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club renders the countless words meaningless. Seeing the return of the figure that oversaw the period that resulted in the club being charged and sanctioned — which has had a major negative impact on my career, life and family —  has been disheartening, if not unexpected, to say the least.

Graves’ stance since I spoke out on the club’s handling of my experiences, has never been made clear to the public. There have also been allegations from the ex-chairman, Roger Hutton, who was in charge when I first raised my concerns, that would show a far greater involvement from Graves than known by the public.

Despite a subsequent apology from the YCCC, that Graves saw fit to suggest the language used was “banter,” is telling.

As has been the case over these last few years, the public has been left with more questions, and no leader with any courage or conviction to answer them with honesty and transparency.

I will not lie, the last week has been incredibly triggering on a personal level, and, not for the first time, has made me question what the point is of fighting to make things right and ensure that what I and others have gone through never happens again.

But it is a fight and a cause that I will continue to take up, because I see no other option.

The alternative would be accepting my kids are going to be called the “P” word, or told “there’s too many of you lot.” English cricket’s key stakeholders, with their actions of the last 10 days, have empowered all the racists out there. And it has been pretty evident on my social media.

I have woken every morning to a barrage of abuse, intimidation, racist threats, and Islamophobia. Again, this is not new to me.

And it has been pretty relentless.

This is what the action of the ECB and PCA boards, as well as county sponsors, has led to. Far from eliminating the racist abuse, it has greenlit and empowered it.

A big day for Yorkshire is Feb. 2, which is when the extraordinary general meeting will see a vote on Graves’ takeover.

From the plans that I have seen, the new consortium aims — even if not immediately — to turn it into a non-member club. With a culture, media and sport select committee session penciled in for February, the saga, and circus that is English cricket’s handling of racism, is set to continue.

What does it say about the governance of the game that we have to keep relying on the committee to get the stakeholders to listen?

Once again, we are left with the same question: Will English cricket ever be a safe place for ethnic minorities?

Based on the actions of the game’s leading stakeholders so far, the simple answer to that question is a clear no.

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