Hales denies Rafiq claims on ‘Kevin’ dog name

Azeem Rafiq claimed England dressing room used ‘Kevin’ as blanket term for all non-white people; Hales: “I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog […] I will gladly co-operate with any investigation the game’s authorities choose to hold”

Last Updated: 17/11/21 5:46pm

Alex Hales was one of the cricketers mentioned by Azeem Rafiq during his parliamentary session on Tuesday

Alex Hales has denied he named his own dog after a racial slur and said he will “co-operate with any investigation” following Azeem Rafiq’s remarks to MPs on Tuesday.

Rafiq rocked the sport with a damning parliamentary appearance in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, during which he outlined in disturbing details his own experiences of racial harassment and discrimination.

He made several fresh allegations against high-profile individuals, including ex-England players Gary Ballance, Tim Bresnan and Matthew Hoggard, and expects the spotlight he has attracted to encourage others to speak up in their droves.

Rafiq told MPs that Ballance’s derogatory use of the term ‘Kevin’ as a blanket term for all people of colour was “an open secret in the England dressing room”.

He further alleged Hales had named his dog Kevin because it was black, something the Nottinghamshire batter has since denied.

“Having heard the allegations made against me, I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog,” Hales said in a statement.

Gary Ballance made a derogatory use of the term ‘Kevin’ as a blanket term for all people of colour, claimed Rafiq

“I entirely respect and have huge sympathy for both the stance Azeem Rafiq has taken and what he has had to endure. His evidence was harrowing.

“There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in cricket and I will gladly co-operate with any investigation the game’s authorities choose to hold.

“Neither I nor my representatives will be making any further comment on the matter.”

Nottinghamshire say they have begun an “internal process” following Rafiq’s allegations.

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Azeem Rafiq says his fight against racism is more important than anything he achieved on the pitch as a player

Azeem Rafiq says his fight against racism is more important than anything he achieved on the pitch as a player

“Following on from the testimony provided to the DCMS select committee regarding Alex Hales, we have commenced the appropriate internal process and will continue to liaise with Alex and his advisers accordingly,” a Nottinghamshire statement read.

During his appearance in front of the DCMS select committee, Rafiq also said he had been contacted by at least one person who had played for Nottinghamshire and had endured racism during their time there.

In response, the club said it “remains totally committed to making cricket in our county, at every level, welcoming and accessible for all”.

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The Cricketer’s George Dobell believes Azeem Rafiq’s testimony will encourage others with similar experiences to speak out

The Cricketer’s George Dobell believes Azeem Rafiq’s testimony will encourage others with similar experiences to speak out

The club added: “We have always tried to create positive and fulfilling cricketing experiences for people from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, and we will continue to do so.

“We acknowledge that, given the experiences recently being shared within the wider game, individuals may not have felt comfortable in voicing their concerns in the past.

“We would encourage anyone who wishes to share concerns or discuss their experiences to come forward and speak freely, either directly to the club or via the ICEC (Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket)’s recent call for evidence. It is vital that individuals do so, in order for the game of cricket to learn and move forward together.

“Should anyone wish to share concerns, we have well-established processes and policies in place to deal with any issues raised. Anyone that comes forward will be treated with the utmost respect and confidentiality.”

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