Alex Hales has explained why he wore blackface at a fancy dress party in 2009.
The photos were published by Britain’s The Sun newspaper hours after former player Azeem Rafiq – whose revelations of the career-ending racism he suffered have sent shockwaves through the English game – admitted he had sent anti-Semitic messages as a 19-year-old.
In a statement, Hales told The Sun: “In 2009, I attended a New Year’s Eve musical tribute fancy dress party. I dressed in tribute to my musical hero, Tupac Shakur, someone who I’ve admired from childhood and, at the time, did not realise the offensive nature of this.
“I echo my statement from earlier in the week and stress how much I deplore racism and discrimination in all its forms,” added the 32-year-old batsman, who now faces a fresh investigation after being suspended by England for a second positive drugs test in 2019.
This week Rafiq told a parliamentary committee that Hales named his black dog ‘Kevin’ due to cricketer Gary Ballance’s use of the name as a derogatory term for people of colour, an accusation that prompted a “categorical” denial from Hales.
Hales’ statement on Thursday regarding the photographs led Julian Knight, the MP who chaired Tuesday’s committee hearing, to label the images “incredibly disturbing and offensive” as he warned “the very soul of English cricket is now at stake”.
© Agence France-Presse