Yorkshire coach apologises after 'poor choice of wording' in TV interview regarding racism scandal

After joining Yorkshire's coaching staff last week, Ryan Sidebottom conducted a TV interview about the recent racism scandal at the club, but faced criticism after urging viewers to "forget about it".

Yorkshire County Cricket Club is undergoing a rebuild at the moment following allegations of racism made by former player Azeem Rafiq.

As a result of Rafiq's statements, the club's chairman Roger Hutton and chief executive Mark Arthur resigned, while a further 16 members of staff - including first team coach Andrew Gale - were sacked.

The club's new director, Darren Gough, is now looking to lead the club to a better, more inclusive, future, and has started the process of hiring new coaching staff.

One of the new incomings was former Yorkshire and England bowler Ryan Sidebottom, who joined the club last week on an interim basis.

Sidebottom conducted an interview following the announcement he'd be joining the club, and commented on the ongoing scandal.

"It's been tough viewing, tough listening, seeing social media. It's been very difficult for lots of reasons for a lot of people.

"Let's try and forget about it. There's no room for racism in any walk of life and hopefully now we can move forward, sort things out, do the right thing and get Yorkshire back firing on all cylinders.

"But it's been a tough couple of months hasn't it for Yorkshire and everyone at the club."

Rafiq, who alleged he'd been victim of racism and harassment at Headingley, then took to Twitter to voice his concern over Sidebottom's quotes.

"Let's definitely not just 'Forget it' Learn from it and make things better. Wish it was that easy just to forget it and pretend nothing happened."

Sidebottom later replied to Rafiq's understandable criticism, posting an apology to social media in response.

"I'm truly sorry for any offence caused earlier by my words on @skysportsnews @SkyCricket.

"We should never forget, we must learn. I never meant to say forget. My choice of words were wrong, and an honest mistake. Here's what I meant.

"I disagree wholeheartedly with discrimination and fully support all investigations and actions surrounding any racial abuse at Yorkshire CCC.

"In my interview with Sky Sports News I used the word 'forget'. This is not what I meant.

"I didn't mean that the situation should be forgotten about, on the contrary, it must never be forgotten. It was a poor choice of words.

"It is crucial that the club, and sport as a whole, learns and adapts to create a truly inclusive environment for all, at all levels.

"I apologise for any offence caused.

"I am now focused on supporting the playing group at Yorkshire CCC on the pitch."

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