Jack Brooks reprimanded and will undergo diversity training

Cricketer Jack Brooks is reprimanded by Somerset and made to undergo diversity training over nine-year-old tweets calling two friends ‘ne**o’ – as MPs warn the ECB to ‘get its house in order over racism’

  • Somerset cricketer Jack Brooks called two friends ‘ne**o’ in tweets from 2012 
  • Brooks has apologised to England star Tymal Mills and Stewart Laudat, 50 
  • He addressed both as ‘n***o’ in tweets when he was at Northamptonshire in 2012
  • He also said sorry to India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara for calling him ‘Steve’  
  • His club have now announced he will undergo diversity training for comments 

Cricketer Jack Brooks has been reprimanded by his club and ordered to undergo diversity training after old nine-year-old tweets where he called two friends ‘ne**o’ emerged.

Somerset announced the punishment for the fast bowler after he apologised to  England star Tymal Mills and Stewart Laudat, 50, who played minor counties cricket for Oxfordshire, for addressing them both as ‘ne**o’ in 2012 when he was a Northamptonshire player.

The news comes as MPs today warned the England and Wales Cricket Board to get its house in order over racism in the sport.

The warning also follows a series of allegations from former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq, that implicated a handful of high-profile former England players and other cricketers during an appearance in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee this week.

Mr Rafiq brought up Brooks specifically, revealing that he had referred to India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara as ‘Steve’ as he didn’t want to say his first name. 

Brooks, 37,  has apologised both privately and publicly to Mr Pujara.

Jack Brooks has been reprimanded by Somerset and ordered to undergo diversity training 

Brooks addressed Tymal Mills and Stewart Laudat as ‘n***o’ in tweets nine years ago

In a statement released to Sportsmail, Brooks said: ‘I acknowledge that the language used in two tweets I made in 2012 was unacceptable and I deeply regret using it. 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. 

Somerset announced the punishment for the fast bowler after he apologised to England star Tymal Mills (pictured) and Stewart Laudat, 50, who played minor counties cricket for Oxfordshire, for addressing them both as ‘n***o’ in 2012

Brooks also said sorry to India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara for calling him by the nickname ‘Steve’, after Azeem Rafiq (above) listed that particular practice in raft of racism allegations

‘At the time I didn’t recognise this as racist behaviour, but I can now see that it was not acceptable.’

He concluded, by saying: ‘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.’

Following an England Lions tour in February 2012, Mills had tweeted ‘great work by the boys winning the series out in Sri Lanka! Top work lads.’

Brooks, who was tagged in the Twitter post along with Joe Root, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales and Nathan Buck, replied: ‘Cheers N***O! #brother’.

A month earlier, Brooks had responded to a congratulatory message from Laudat – ‘Great work Brooksy’, after he took three wickets in a Lions win over Bangladesh A – with a similar response: ‘Cheers n***o!’

Laudat took to social media on Thursday morning amid the probe, writing on Twitter: ‘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.’ 

Laudat took to social media on Thursday morning amid the probe, writing on Twitter

Discussing the racism storm that has gripped cricket in recent days,  Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said Azeem Rafiq’s testimony to MPs was ‘harrowing’ and ‘difficult to hear’. 

MPs across the political spectrum reacted with horror and anger at Mr Rafiq’s testimony of the ‘inhuman’ treatment he suffered during his time at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

The Government has previously vowed to ‘step in’ if Yorkshire and the ECB fail to take ‘real action’ in response to the racism crisis.

Speaking in the Commons, Conservative MP Julian Knight – who chairs the select committee – asked the minister if he shared his consternation that ‘the former chair of Yorkshire hadn’t even read the seminal Fletcher report into the lack of inclusivity at the county’.

He added: ‘Does he agree with me the response to Mr Rafiq’s brave testimony in this House has not only to be to clear out the Augean stables in Yorkshire, but to ensure the institutionally racist blocking of minority community talent is stopped forever?

‘We need a Kick It Out for cricket, right now.’

Mr Huddleston, in his reply, said: ‘The Fletcher report, which was pretty old, was clearly not acted upon, it should have been.’

He added: ‘We’ve had very frank conversations with ECB and others involved in cricket over the last couple of weeks. I have had reassurance that they take the issue seriously and will act.

‘(ECB chief executive) Tom Harrison has promised me that with every fibre of his being he will take action here.

‘We will judge them on their deeds and not their words, and if they fail to act appropriately we will not hesitate to intervene further.’

For Labour, shadow culture minister Alison McGovern claimed those who failed to deal with cultures of racism in sport will ‘ruin our country’s reputation, not build it’.

As she addressed the claims made by Mr Rafiq, Ms McGovern said: ‘I want to return briefly to the situation in cricket because I think the lesson is for all sports that those who failed to deal with cultures of racism and prejudice will ruin our country’s reputation, not build it.

‘I know that you (Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle) and I, all members and ministers and shadow ministers in this House were heartbroken listening to Azeem Rafiq, but as the minister himself said it’s deeds, not words, that will make a difference.

‘That goes for the Government as well.

‘Can I ask the minister if he will place in the Commons library any correspondence that he has had with the Equality and Human Rights Commission and can he tell the House what discussions he has had with them about their powers and resources, and whether they are enough to deal with what we know and have known for a long time are chronic problems in sport?’

Mr Huddleston replied: ‘I will happily place documents that are appropriate, I cannot promise to put every single document or discussion as she knows there are sometimes confidentiality and frank discussions concerns that may inhibit our ability to place every single piece of correspondence.’

Brooks, who joined Yorkshire in late 2012 and went on to win two County Championship titles while at Headingley before leaving for Somerset three years ago, has also apologised to former team-mates Rafiq, Adil Rashid and Moin Ashraf for any offence he may have caused during their playing days together.

In his statement, he added: ‘I have always tried to act with the best endeavours for inclusion and harmony in the team environments, and I have strived to learn, understand and develop as a person. 

‘This has been helped by the diversity and inclusion training that I have undertaken this year and will continue to participate in via Somerset.’ 

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