Asian cricketers ‘reluctant’ to report racist abuse

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New study reveals players ‘under pressure’ to downplay racist incidents

ASIAN cricketers feel there is little point reporting racist abuse for fear of not being taken seriously, explosive new research has claimed.

A study to be presented to the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Cardiff tomorrow will claim that Asian players are often under pressure to not report racist abuse or to underplay its effects.

Dr Daniel Burdsey, from the University of Brighton, interviewed a handful of British Asian first-class cricketers, and six British Asian cricket coaches for his paper ‘Obscured by the sight screen? English cricket, British Asian identities and colour-blind racism’.

He said testimonies from individual players included “reports that on-field occurrences of racism have been covered up by captains and match officials”.

He also said some Muslim players had been mocked by spectators because of their beards and names.

“At the present time, it is the significant number of British Asians participating at elite level that is often cited as evidence that discrimination is no longer a central factor in shaping the opportunities and careers of minority ethnic players,” Dr Burdsey said.

“Allegations of racism have frequently been rebuffed by the English cricket establishment, with its members arguing that the game has long shed its colonial baggage and white, upper-class ethos.

“While racism may not prevent players breaking into and succeeding in cricket, it remains ingrained in certain everyday, interpersonal relations and locker-room banter within the English professional game,” he added.

One player interviewed by Dr Burdsey revealed that he was called a “bomber” in the days after the 7/7 London bombings, while another said racist incidents on the pitch had been downplayed by match umpires.

“I get the feeling it’s players and umpires, they don’t want to make an issue of it just in case it blows out of proportion, so a lot of it is then just quashed and, you know, pushed aside so that it’s not made a big issue about it,” one player revealed.

Dr Burdsey said it was likely Asian players often do not report racist comments not because they are avoiding facing up to its reality, but because they “are resigned to the fact that they lack the power to eradicate it.”

“There is also the perturbing belief amongst some minority ethnic sports people that there is little point in reporting racism because it will not be taken seriously and perpetrators will likely go unpunished,” he added.

“The dominant sporting belief that locker-room banter is part of the game therefore serves to normalise discriminatory practices…ultimately a ‘tolerance zone’ is created in which certain levels of racism are trivialised, ignore and ultimately exculpated.”

 

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