Azeem Rafiq apologises as anti-Semitic messages sent to team-mate come to light

Azeem Rafiq has apologised and says he's "deeply ashamed" after it was revealed he posted anti-Semitic messages on Facebook back in 2011.

The former Yorkshire cricketer has been speaking publicly of the racist abuse he suffered during his career at a parliamentary select committee this week.

The 30-year-old described cricket in the UK as "institutionally racist" and says he was always made to feel like an outsider as a man with Pakistani origin.

Although in a surprising turn of events, a number of historic messages, posted by Rafiq a decade ago, have emerged which show the spin-bowler using anti-Semitic language.

In a statement, Rafiq said: "I have absolutely no excuses.

"I am ashamed of this exchange and have now deleted it so as not to cause further offence.

"I was 19 at the time and I hope and believe I am a different person today.

"I am incredibly angry at myself and I apologise to the Jewish community and everyone who is rightly offended by this."

The Times uncovered Rafiq's old messages, which were sent during an exchange with former Warwickshire and Leicestershire player Ateeq Javid.

During the exchange, Rafiq described a third player of being reluctant to spend money at a team dinner because "he is a Jew".

He added the player would "probs go after my 2nds [second helping of food] again ha", adding: “Only Jews do tht [sic] sort of s***.".

The timing of the news could not have come at a worse time for Rafiq, who has attempted to confront bullying and racism in cricket.

He first spoke out in September 2020, claiming "institutional racism" at Yorkshire left him close to taking his own life.

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