Michael Vaughan has said he was sorry for the pain his former Yorkshire teammate Azeem Rafiq endured arising from the racism he experienced at the club.
Yorkshire’s new chairman, Lord Patel, has apologised to Rafiq for what he had been through and the former player told MPs this month of the “inhuman” treatment he suffered during his time at the county, with Vaughan among a number of figures implicated in the case. In an interview with BBC Breakfast shown on Saturday morning, Vaughan denied making racist comments.
“I’m sorry for the hurt he has gone through,” the former England captain said of Rafiq. “It hurts deeply, hurts me that a player has gone through so much, been treated so badly at the club that I love.”
Vaughan, speaking to the BBC presenter Dan Walker, said: “I have to take some responsibility for that because I played for Yorkshire County Cricket Club for 18 years and if in any way, shape or form I’m responsible for any of his hurt, I apologise for that.”
Vaughan added: “Time I don’t think can ever be a healer in the situation that he’s gone through. But hopefully time can be a way of us making sure that Yorkshire never goes through this situation again and never puts themselves in a position of denial that they treated a player so badly.”
Vaughan denied Rafiq’s claims that he said “Too many of you lot, we need to do something about it”, to Rafiq and three other Asian players before a Yorkshire match in 2009. Rafiq’s account was backed up by the former Pakistan bowler Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and the England leg-spinner Adil Rashid, who said they heard the comment.
When Walker asked Vaughan if the trio were lying, he replied: “We’ve got too much ‘he said, she said, did they say’ – and I think we’ve got to move on from accusations of conversations from many years ago. There’s a bigger picture here.”
Asked if he ever made any racist comments during his time at Yorkshire, Vaughan said: “No, I didn’t. No.” The 47-year-old also admitted he was embarrassed by tweets he posted in the past which have been widely shared in recent weeks.
Vaughan has been left out of the BBC’s commentary team for England’s tour of Australia because “his involvement in the Yorkshire story represents a conflict of interest”, according to a BBC statement.
“I won’t be doing the Ashes which I understand, the editorial at the moment is all about Azeem Rafiq and racism in the game of cricket. I get that,” Vaughan said. “I just hope in time I get that chance to come back.”