RCPsych statement on institutional racism within cricket

Statement / comment
18 November 2021

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has today condemned the impact of institutional racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and across cricket – and highlighted the impact of workplace racism on mental health.

Over the last year, cricketer Azeem Rafiq has courageously exposed the racism he was subjected to at Yorkshire CCC and spoke of being suicidal as a result of his experience, which was sustained and impacted on all aspects of his life. He also revealed that the issue was widespread. Sadly, the club has decided not to take any disciplinary action, though their investigations revealed evidence of racist behaviour.

A number of other Black, Asian and minority ethnic cricketers have also come forward and spoken about the racism they have endured and the toll this has taken on their mental health.

Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:

“Institutional racism – both conscious and unconscious – results in people going along with unacceptable behaviours that cause serious harm to others, and many may not be in a position to challenge it. Racial discrimination can have a significant, negative impact on a person’s life chances and mental health.

We are particularly concerned that racism is not taken seriously enough by many organisations. Efforts to tackle this should be urgently prioritised by Government, non-governmental organisations and professional bodies.”

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