ECB vow to launch probe into ‘Kevin’ slur after Azeem Rafiq claimed Yorkshire and England cricketers used the name to abuse people from black and Asian backgrounds… with Alex Hales alleged to have given his black dog the name because of it
- The ECB have pledged to investigate claims the word ‘Kevin’ was used as a slur
- Azeem Rafiq says the word ‘Kevin’ has been used as a term of racist abuse
- The name allegedly took hold to such an extent Alex Hales named his dog Kevin
- Hales denies the claim, but ECB chief Tom Harrison said he would investigate
The ECB have pledged to investigate damaging claims from Azeem Rafiq that England players have used the word ‘Kevin’ as a term of abuse for people from black and Asian backgrounds.
The ex-Yorkshire spinner claimed on Tuesday that the term was widely used by former team-mate Gary Ballance, who had introduced it to the England dressing room, where it allegedly took hold to such an extent that it led to Alex Hales naming his black dog Kevin.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison claimed he had not been aware of the racial insult until reading Rafiq’s witness statement, but pledged to investigate further. Hales is understood to deny the allegation and claims he named the dog after the Scottish comedian Kevin Bridges.
‘The first time I became aware of the slur was reading the report,’ Harrison said. ‘It will now form part of the ECB investigation.’
Ballance is banned from playing for England after he admitted calling Rafiq a “P**i,” and Hales has been frozen out since failing a drugs test on the eve of the 2019 World Cup. The pair had become friends on England duty against Pakistan in 2016.
‘Kevin was something Gary (Ballance) used for people of colour in a derogatory manner. All the time,’ Rafiq said.
‘Gary and Alex got close to each other playing for England, but I understand Alex went on to name his dog Kevin because it was black. It is disgusting how much of a joke it became.’
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has vowed to launch a probe into the use of the word ‘Kevin’ following an explosive claim made by Azeem Rafiq
‘Kevin’ was allegedly introduced by Gary Ballance in reference to black and Asian people
The term took hold to such an extent that former England star Alex Hales named his black dog Kevin (pictured). The batsman denies the allegation
Rafiq also accused Yorkshire of covering up a failed drugs test by Ballance.
In his 57-page witness statement, published by the DCMS post-hearing on Tuesday, Rafiq alleged that the club said the batsman had taken time off for ‘anxiety and mental health issues’ when he had tested positive for recreational drugs — and that they ‘protected Ballance with respect to his drug and alcohol issues’.
However, a spokesperson for Ballance said later: ‘Gary must correct the record relating to the egregious false allegations made in Azeem’s witness statement that Gary had “drug and alcohol issues” and “miss(ed) drug hair sample tests to avoid sanctions”. These allegations are categorically untrue and should never have been made. Gary has never, to his knowledge, missed a drugs test and would not do so.’
Yorkshire declined to comment on Tuesday night.
Three counties Rafiq drew into the scandal on Tuesday appealed for victims to come forward. Middlesex, Notts and Leicestershire issued statements after Rafiq told the hearing he was told some were too scared to speak out.