Azeem Rafiq: Somerset cricketer Jack Brooks under investigation after using discriminatory language


Jack Brooks is under investigation by Somerset after using discriminatory language to two friends – including England star Tymal Mills – in historic social media posts.

Brooks has apologised to Mills and Stewart Laudat, 50, who played minor counties cricket for Oxfordshire, for addressing them both as ‘n***o’ in tweets nine years ago when he was a Northamptonshire player.

The 37-year-old has also said sorry both privately and publicly to India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara for calling him by the nickname ‘Steve’, after Azeem Rafiq listed that particular practice in the raft of racism allegations directed at Yorkshire during Tuesday’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport hearing.

In a statement released to Sportsmail, Brooks said: ‘I acknowledge that the language used in two tweets I made in 2012 was unacceptable and I deeply regret using it. I unreservedly apologise for any offence caused to anybody who may have seen these tweets.

‘The two players to whom I sent the tweets are my friends and it was certainly not my intention to cause distress or offence to them or anyone who read them. 

‘It is my understanding that neither individual was offended at the time, but I accept that language is important and that a word I used may have caused offence to others.

Jack Brooks is under investigation by Somerset after using discriminatory language

Brooks addressed Tymal Mills and Stewart Laudat as ¿n***o¿ in tweets nine years ago

Brooks addressed Tymal Mills and Stewart Laudat as ‘n***o’ in tweets nine years ago

Brooks has apologised to England star Mills (above) and Stewart Laudat, 50, who played minor counties cricket for Oxfordshire

‘I condemn discrimination of any sort and I should never have used discriminatory language, no matter what the intention and context was. I wholeheartedly apologise for any offence caused.

‘With reference to my naming in Azeem Rafiq’s statement to MPs this week, the use of the name “Steve” related to some people having difficult names to pronounce.

‘When this has occurred in the past in a dressing room environment, it has been commonplace to give nicknames, regardless of creed or race.

Brooks also said sorry to India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara for calling him by the nickname ¿Steve¿, after Azeem Rafiq (above) listed that particular practice in raft of racism allegations

Brooks also said sorry to India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara for calling him by the nickname ‘Steve’, after Azeem Rafiq (above) listed that particular practice in raft of racism allegations

‘I admit to having used it in this context and now accept that it was disrespectful and wrong to do so. I have reached out and apologised to Cheteshwar for any offence that I have caused him or his family. 

‘At the time I didn’t recognise this as racist behaviour, but I can now see that it was not acceptable.’

He concluded, by saying: ‘I will ensure that my actions and language are never brought into question like this again. 

‘I want to be clear and give an unequivocal apology to anybody who has ever been upset or offended by my actions. I am genuinely sorry.’

Following an England Lions tour in February 2012, Mills had tweeted ‘great work by the boys winning the series out in Sri Lanka! Top work lads.’

Brooks, who was tagged in the Twitter post along with Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales and Nathan Buck, replied: ‘Cheers N***O! #brother’.

Laudat took to social media on Thursday morning amid the probe, writing on Twitter

Laudat took to social media on Thursday morning amid the probe, writing on Twitter

A month earlier, Brooks had responded to a congratulatory message from Laudat – ‘Great work Brooksy’, after he took three wickets in a Lions win over Bangladesh A – with a similar response: ‘Cheers n***o!’

Laudat took to social media on Thursday morning amid the probe, writing on Twitter: ‘With regard to the historical tweet that has come to light between my friend Jack Brooks and I, I would like to state that I understand that things that have been said or expressed are now under increased scrutiny and rightly so if we are to address all forms of discrimination.

‘But without context, misunderstandings and misconceptions are easily made. It upsets me that Jacks character is being questioned over this tweet because I’ve known him for a long time and have never been made to feel uncomfortable in any conversations we’ve had.

‘I consider Jack to be a good friend and a credit to his family and his profession.’ 

Somerset confirmed they had launched an investigation on Wednesday night and are understood to have made contact with both players concerned to gain the context of the exchanges first hand, and also with Pujara.

Brooks, who joined Yorkshire in late 2012 and went on to win two County Championship titles while at Headingley before leaving for Somerset three years ago, has also apologised to former team-mates Rafiq, Adil Rashid and Moin Ashraf for any offence he may have caused during their playing days together.

In his statement, he added: ‘I have always tried to act with the best endeavours for inclusion and harmony in the team environments, and I have strived to learn, understand and develop as a person. 

‘This has been helped by the diversity and inclusion training that I have undertaken this year and will continue to participate in via Somerset.’ 

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