Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

The chair of ICEC criticizes the ECB for not having the necessary ethical courage to address comments made by Botham.
Cricket Sport

The chair of ICEC criticizes the ECB for not having the necessary ethical courage to address comments made by Botham.

The England and Wales Cricket Board was criticized for not standing up to Ian Botham when he dismissed a significant report on racism, sexism, and discrimination in the sport as “nonsense”, according to statements made to MPs.

Last year, Lord Botham expressed that he discarded the 300-page report from the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket after reading it. He believed it was a frivolous use of money and was frustrated that no one he knew had been consulted for input.

Cindy Butts, the author of the report, informed members of the culture, media, and sport committee on Tuesday that the ex-England all-rounder and current chair of Durham, had made multiple false statements.

“We extended an invitation to Lord Botham to testify before us,” Butts informed members of Parliament. “Unfortunately, he did not respond. However, the county he chairs, Durham, did provide written evidence, for which we are grateful.”

“He claimed to not know anyone who had contributed to our report, when in reality, several prominent cricket players, including Heather Knight, the captain of England’s women’s team, provided evidence. Therefore, he made several false statements about the report.”

“I respect Lord Botham’s right to hold his own opinions. However, what disappoints me the most is that he holds a position as chair of a prestigious county.”

Icec chair Butts cautioned that Botham’s reaction may weaken the position of others in his county who experience discrimination based on race, gender, or social class.

Butts questioned, “How can they feel assured enough to speak up and share their experiences, knowing they may face discrimination and have faith that it will be addressed?”

I was personally let down, especially since he is someone I admire in the world of sports. Actually, I would go as far as to say that the influence Lord Botham had on me as a young woman from a working-class background in Shepherd’s Bush was extremely significant.

β€œTo see his blossoming relationship with Vivian Richards and the way in which they were both rivals, but they had a deep respect for one another. And their friendship and their love was clearly displayed for all to see. That had a profound effect on me.”

Butts showed trust in the ECB’s fresh leadership to address racism and other discriminatory acts, but she also voiced her disapproval towards the organization for not addressing Botham’s comments.

“The European Central Bank did not deem it necessary to explicitly state: ‘This is incorrect’,” she stated. “Furthermore, not only did they remain silent, they also rejected pleas from interested parties and individuals who expressed concern about Botham’s remarks. Instead, they chose to remain silent. In my opinion, they should have taken a stand on this issue based on moral principles.”

During the three-hour discussion on discrimination in cricket, Richard Thompson, chair of the ECB, responded to the criticism and informed members of parliament that he had personally reached out to Botham to inquire about the reasoning behind his statements.

“I sensed that our goal was to come to a resolution, to progress and find healing,” he stated. “Lord Botham has the right to express his opinions. Although I do not share the same beliefs, I made it known to him that I disagree. However, in a democracy, he is free to voice his thoughts.”

Ignore the newsletter advertisement.

During the meeting, it was mentioned that the family residence of Azeem Rafiq, a whistleblower from Yorkshire, was once again targeted last week. This information was shared by MP John Nicolson, who expressed strong disapproval towards Yorkshire’s chairman, Colin Graves, for not personally offering an apology to Rafiq.

Graves has promised to save Yorkshire from economic downfall once again since rejoining the team this month. However, it was during his previous term that Rafiq experienced racial discrimination.

Nicolson inquired, “Why was it not suitable to call him?”

“I had a lot of things happening, so I couldn’t answer Mr. Rafiq’s phone call,” Graves responded.

“During this extended period of time, there has been a significant controversy surrounding this man due to the unacceptable behavior he has faced. This includes a recent attack on his parents’ residence. With so much happening, did you not have the opportunity to call and check on him?”

“I haven’t been involved in cricket since September 2020,” Graves responded to Mr. Nicolson. “I haven’t been involved in managing any type of cricket until I recently returned to work with Yorkshire 11 days ago.”

Nicolson replied, “You didn’t have to be a part of cricket to call him and apologize for what occurred during your time in office.”

Source: theguardian.com