'There is no debate about racism' – England captain Joe Root opens up on Yorkshire scandal for first time ahead of Ashes

JOE ROOT entered the Yorkshire race row and insisted: “There is no debate about racism, no one side or other. It is simply intolerable.”

Test captain Root, 30, – currently in Australia preparing for the Ashes – has been horrified by the storm engulfing his home county.

He put out a statement on Thursday and then revealed he has never heard any of the incidents of racism that others such as former player Azeem Rafiq have experienced.

Asked if he knew about racism at Yorkshire, Root said: “No, I can only speak from my personal experiences.

“But it’s clear things have happened at the club and we have to make sure we eradicate it.

"We look to find ways to make sure this never happens again in the sport and, as I said before, beyond that as well in society.”

Root also believes players and coaches who have been involved in racist incidents in the past can be educated and rehabilitated – rather than driven out of the game.

He explained: “From my point of view, we all make mistakes and racism is something we completely have to eradicate.

“But I do think people deserve a second chance and if they are willing to accept they’ve made a mistake and they want to make change and move forward.

"I think that’s really important as well.

“We are all human beings and I think that’s something we have to remember within this.

"Of course, people have been deeply hurt throughout this whole thing but ultimately we have to find a way to move forward.”

Root’s statement added: “I want the sport to be a place where everyone is enjoying it for the beautiful game it is and feels equal and safe.

“It hurts knowing this has happened at YCCC so close to home. It’s my club that I care passionately about. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting.

"There is no debate about racism, no one side or other. It is simply intolerable.


“I want to see change and actions that will see YCCC rise from this with a culture that harnesses a diverse environment with trust across all communities that support cricket in the county.

“We need to educate, unify and reset. I will reach out to YCCC new Chair, Lord Patel, to offer support however I’m able.

“Inclusivity, diversity and anti-discrimination is something over the past few years the England teams I have been involved in have spent a lot of time talking about and are very passionate about improving and making a big difference.

“It’s a big part of our culture and we want to celebrate our diversity. We are representing England and in that we are representing the multicultural society we live in.

“We want all the fans to be able to enjoy what we do on the field and feel proud about who’s representing them.

“With the Ashes fast approaching, I’d really like the fans back home to unite and get behind us as a team. We will be playing for you all.”

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