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Michael Vaughan’s Return to the BBC Sets Dangerous Precedence

Michael Vaughan’s Return to the BBC Sets Dangerous Precedence

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday April 13 2022

Near the end of last month, the BBC announced the return of former England captain and ex-Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) player Michael Vaughan after being dropped when allegations surfaced that Vaughan had made racist comments towards his teammates. Indeed the YCCC investigations were groundbreaking, as former YCCC player and a former teammate of Vaughan, Azeem Rafiq, came out publicly about experiencing racism during his playing career. The investigations revealed the depths of which racism is rooted in cricket clubs, leading to calls for reform across the country. 

Vaughan was initially dropped by the BBC when Rafiq mentioned Vaughan by name, who he was a teammate with in 2009. Concerningly, the appointment of Vaughan sets a dangerous precedent, normalising racism and creating an environment where an individual can be racist and not face any repercussions. Even more worryingly, when Vaughan was asked to confirm Rafiq’s account, he denied making such comments despite witness accounts.

Previously, in a parliamentary hearing, Rafiq recollected a moment when Vaughan walked into the dressing room and directed a comment toward a group of Asian players. According to Rafiq and other witnesses, Vaughan mentioned that there were “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it”, suggesting it was an issue in a predominantly white cricket club. Vaughan was asked to confirm whether he had made the comments in an interview following the revelations. His response was seemingly vague, as he attempted to change the topic not taking responsibility. Still, Vaughan’s failure to recollect the moment is as damaging as the comment itself, demonstrating how overtly racist statements can be uttered mundanely.

Sadly, though Vaughan denies making such remarks, the incident is not isolated but rather an accumulation of controversial statements. In 2010, Vaughan tweeted, “Not many English people live in London… I need to learn a new language”, referencing the growing multiculturalism in the capital. Moreover, in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombings in 2017, Vaughan posted a series of tweets, alluding to a unique burden on Muslims to find terrorists in their community. Following this, Vaughan was questioned if Muslim England cricketer Moeen Ali should ask fellow Muslims if they are terrorists. He answered, “if it’s going [to] help our kids future and environment become a safer place then YES”. Indeed, such rhetoric further stigmatised Muslim communities amidst a time of increasing hostility. Consequently, although Vaughan has denied making racist comments, his historic tweets and comments demonstrate his indifference towards Islamophobic and racist beliefs.

Ultimately, the decision to reinstate Vaughan demonstrates the failings of the BBC in its commitment to racial equality. The reappointment of Vaughan, someone with a track record of racist remarks, essentially undermines the efforts of those fighting for inclusion and diversity across sports while demonstrating indifference towards racism and Islamophobia at large. As such, MEND calls upon the BBC to adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and Islamophobia and reconsider Michael Vaughan’s reinstatement.

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