Brooks reprimanded by Somerset after calling two friends n***o in old tweets

Jack Brooks has been reprimanded by Somerset and will need to undergo training on diversity following an investigation from the club into unearthed tweets that found he used discriminatory language to two friends, referring to them as 'n***o'.

Before the investigation was concluded, Brooks issued an apology to England international Tymal Mills and Stewart Laudat for the offensive language used nine years ago when he played for Northamptonshire.

The 37-year-old bowler also apologised both publicly and privately to Cheteshwar Pujara for calling him by the nickname ‘Steve’. Azeem Rafiq referred to that particular practice during his shocking testimony at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport hearing on Tuesday.

Former Yorkshire player Rafiq gave his account of the troubling issues of racism within the domestic game, particularly the culture within his former club Yorkshire CCC.

Brooks released a statement condemning his actions and apologised for any offence caused from his historical tweets.

And later on Thursday, Somerset confirmed they had decided to reprimand Brooks and required him to undergo extensive training on Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity.

In Somerset's statement, it said that he was "embarrassed and devastated that his comments offended people".

The statement added: "He has acknowledged that, whilst they were made nearly a decade ago when he was less mature, the content of the posts was wrong and not in accordance with his personal values.

"Jack has engaged honestly and openly throughout the investigation and unreservedly apologises for his past errors.

"Before arriving at conclusions, the club considered a number of factors including no evidence of repeated documented behaviour of this kind, the contrition shown by Jack throughout the process, feedback received from recipients of the social media posts, and his commitment to his own personal development.

"Given these considerations, the club has decided to reprimand Jack, remind him of his responsibilities and require him to participate in extensive training on equality, diversity and inclusivity."

Before Somerset's decision, Brooks had said: "I acknowledge that the language used in two tweets I made in 2012 was unacceptable and I deeply regret using it", Brooks said in the statement released to the MailOnline. "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.

"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.

"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. 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."

In January 2012, Brooks had responded to a congratulatory message from Laudat, who simply said "Great work Brooksy", after he clinched three wickets in a Lions victory against Bangladesh A. Brooks' response was: "Cheers n***o!"

And after an England Lions tour in February 2012, 29-year-old Mills took to social media to tweet: "great work by the boys winning the series out in Sri Lanka! Top work lads."

Brooks was tagged in the Twitter post along with current England captain Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales and Nathan Buck, and he replied: "Cheers N***O! #brother."

Laudat took to social media on Thursday to defend Brooks with a statement of his own: "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."

Following the emergence of the historical tweets, Somerset confirmed they launched the investigation on Wednesday night and got in touch with both players concerned to understand the context of the exchanges, as well as with India batsman Pujara.

Brooks has also issued an apology to former team-mates Rafiq, Adil Rashid and Moin Ashraf for any offence he may have caused during their country playing days together.

He joined Yorkshire in late 2012 and claimed two County Championship titles with the club before leaving for Somerset in 2018.

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