At the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing this week, Azeem Rafiq apologised and said he is ashamed for using anti-Semitic language in Facebook messages from 2011.

The former spin-bowler spoke of his experiences of racism at Yorkshire and appeared at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee this week. The 30-year-old said he had no excuses for the messages.


In a statement, he said: "I am incredibly angry at myself and apologise to the Jewish community." He also apologised for an Instagram meme containing a saying relating to African people.

He said that posting it was a matter of stupidity but the harm is the same as overt racism so that is no excuse. The Facebook messages were sent between Rafiq and another cricketer.

He said that he had deleted the messages to not cause further offence, saying: "I have absolutely no excuses. I am ashamed of this exchange. I was 19 at the time and hope and believe I am a different person today."

Warwickshire have said they will talk with former player Ateeq Javid, who exchanged the messages with Rafiq.

Claudia Mendoza, co-chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said on Twitter: “Rafiq had undoubtedly learned a lot since 2011.

“There's no doubt that this is massively awkward for Azeem Rafiq. But he's taken full ownership, apologised, and undoubtedly - through his own experiences - learnt a lot about racism since then."

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: "Azeem Rafiq has suffered terribly at the hands of racists in cricket so he will well understand the hurt this exchange will cause to Jews who have supported him.

"His apology certainly seems heartfelt and we have no reason to believe he is not completely sincere." Rafiq's Instagram meme was used to make a derogatory point about some family members.

"I copied this post from Facebook during a family dispute," Rafiq said.

"Clearly, I should not have copied this post and I apologise for the hurt this has caused. I don't know what on earth I was thinking. I have been clear over the past 16 months that I have made many mistakes and two of them have quite rightly been brought to the public's attention today."