Somerset bowler apologises after historic racist tweets emerge

22 Nov 2021 | 07:30 | News

Somerset have reprimanded Jack Brooks after an investigation into historic racist tweets.

The now 36-year-old sent two tweets in 2012 which contained racist language, while he also called Cheteshwar Pujara ‘Steve’ when they were both at Yorkshire.

Somerset insisted they were “embarrassed and devastated that his comments offended people,” with Brooks “unreservedly” apologising and now set to “participate in extensive training on equality, diversity and inclusivity”.

Brooks reached out specifically to Stewart Laudat and England international Tymal Mills, who confirmed he has accepted the apology for using offensive language and that the pair remain friends.

The fast bowler was named by former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq in a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Tuesday, which looked into a culture of racism at the club.

Rafiq revealed Brooks, who won the County Championship twice during his time at Yorkshire, referred to Cheteshwar Pujara as ‘Steve’ due to his own difficulty pronouncing his first name.

That was despite Pujara maintaining that he did not like the name and preferred his team-mates to call him Cheteshwar.

“I acknowledge that the language used in two tweets I made in 2012 was unacceptable and I deeply regret using it,” Brooks said. “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.”

Mills confirmed Brooks’ claim that he has spoken to him about his language and apologised: “In relation to the social media post from 2012 from Jack Brooks, I feel compelled to comment given how prominent issues such as this are currently.

“Jack and I have spoken about it and I know how much he regrets having used the language he did.

“I believe it is right that both as a sport and as a society, we must go through a thorough process of reflection and introspection regarding the language we use towards each other and how we treat each other.

“Jack has apologised to me profusely and sincerely which I have accepted and I still consider him to be a good friend. I consider this matter to be closed and do not wish to comment on it any further.”

While Somerset added in a statement: “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.”

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