News

Jack Brooks apologises for historical racist tweets, and to Cheteshwar Pujara over 'Steve' nickname

Somerset reprimand bowler after two tweets using word "n***o" emerge

Jack Brooks moved from Yorkshire to Somerset in 2018  •  Getty Images

Jack Brooks moved from Yorkshire to Somerset in 2018  •  Getty Images

Somerset seamer Jack Brooks has issued an apology for tweets featuring racist language sent in 2012. Brooks also apologised for his role in nicknaming Cheteshwar Pujara, the India batter, "Steve" during his time at Yorkshire.
The emergence of two examples of Brooks using the word "n***o" - in exchanges with England fast bowler Tymal Mills and Stewart Laudat, who played minor counties cricket for Oxfordshire - led to Somerset announcing on Wednesday evening that they would be investigating the allegations.
The club released a statement on Thursday describing Brooks' comments as "unacceptable", saying that he would receive a formal reprimand and be required to take part in "extensive training on equality, diversity and inclusion".
Brooks, 37, said that he "deeply regretted" using the term and apologised "wholeheartedly".
"I acknowledge that the language used in two tweets I made in 2012 was unacceptable and I deeply regret using it," Brooks said. "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."
Mills, who recently featured in England's T20 World Cup campaign in the UAE, responded to Brooks' apology in a statement issued by his club, Sussex, noting that he felt "compelled to comment given how prominent issues such as this are currently".
"Jack and I have spoken about it and I know how much he regrets having used the language he did," Mills said. "I believe it is right that both as a sport and as a society, we must go through a thorough process of reflection and introspection regarding the language we use towards each other and how we treat each other.
"Jack has apologised to me profusely and sincerely which I have accepted and I still consider him to be a good friend. I consider this matter to be closed and do not wish to comment on it any further."
Laudat also addressed the issue on Twitter, saying that he had "known [Brooks] for a long time" and had "never been made to feel uncomfortable in any conversations we've had".
Earlier in the week, Brooks' name featured in Azeem Rafiq's testimony in front of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee. Rafiq said that Brooks had started the practice at Yorkshire of referring to Pujara as "Steve", rather than use his given name.
Brooks said he had not realised it could be construed as racist but "can now see that it was not acceptable".
"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," Brooks said. "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. At the time I didn't recognise this as racist behaviour, but I can now see that it was not acceptable.
"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 CCC.
"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."
Somerset said that they had been made aware of the tweets on Sunday and conducted their own investigation. They also urged anyone with "information on incidents which may have occurred in the past to report them to the club to ensure that lessons are learned", as part of a confidential process.
"As a result of our internal investigation, alongside the evidence given to MPs this week and now in the public domain, the club have spoken with Jack at length about the nature and content of his comments. There is no doubt that these comments are unacceptable.
"Somerset CCC condemn the use of language which has any racist connotations. Jack agrees with this sentiment and is embarrassed and devastated that his comments offended people and he has acknowledged that, whilst they were made nearly a decade ago when he was less mature, the content of the posts was wrong and not in accordance with his personal values. Jack has engaged honestly and openly throughout the investigation and unreservedly apologies for his past errors.
"Before arriving at conclusions, the club considered a number of factors including no evidence of repeated documented behaviour of this kind, the contrition shown by Jack throughout the process, feedback received from recipients of the social media posts, and his commitment to his own personal development.
"Given these considerations, the club has decided to reprimand Jack, remind him of his responsibilities and require him to participate in extensive training on equality, diversity and inclusivity."