Big Bash League club Sydney Thunder plans to insist on using Alex Hales, even though a photo of a British batsman was painted black and claimed that he referred to his pet dog “Kevin” as part of a racially derogatory joke.
Last week, former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq (Azeem Rafiq) exposed his end of career racism, which caused an uproar in the British cricket world. Lee Gemon, chief executive of New South Wales Cricket, who oversees the Thunder, emphasized that there is no room for racism or discrimination of any kind in this sport.
But he added in a statement late on Monday that the 2020 Australians should also “accept those who make mistakes.”
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“One of the hallmarks of the Thunder’s success is that the team embraces diversity and is a club for everyone,” he said. “If we really believe we must also accept people who have made mistakes.
“I’ve talked to Alex, I’ve seen his apology, and there is no doubt that he regrets this picture and other misjudgments he made when he was young.”
“Great teammate and ambassador”
Hales said that this blackface photo was taken at a New Year’s Eve party in 2009, just to pay tribute to his favorite rap artist Tupac Shakur. But he admitted that it was “disrespectful” and he “condemned” racism. Rafik then told the British Parliamentary Committee that Hales, now 32, named his black dog “Kevin” because the cricketer Gary Ballance used the name as a derogatory term. This accusation triggered Hales’ “absolute” denial.
Gemun said that before giving the green light to the season opener in December, he sought the opinions of Hales’ teammates and the Thunder staff. “Someone told me… he is an amazing teammate and a spokesperson for the Thunder’s ideals and ambitions,” Gemun said.
“He understands that the Thunder hopes to provide people-including those who have just arrived in Australia-with a sports team that they can identify with regardless of their background. We hope that everyone who participates in the Sydney Thunder will know that this is a safe A place is a place of mutual respect for them and their families.”
Hales is the leading scorer of the 2020-21 BBL season.
He will join forces with former England coach Trevor Bayliss in the new season, who took over the reins of the Sydney Thunder from Shane Bond.