Somerset reprimand Jack Brooks over historical tweets

19 Nov 2021 | 03:22 | News

The club investigated two tweets, sent in 2012 when the now 37-year-old played for Northamptonshire, as well as calling Cheteshwar Pujara ‘Steve’ when they were both at Yorkshire.

Brooks has “unreservedly” apologised.

In a statement, Somerset said he was “embarrassed and devastated that his comments offended people”.

“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,” the statement added.

“Jack has engaged honestly and openly throughout the investigation and unreservedly apologises 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.”

BBC Sport has asked Somerset for clarification on what ‘reprimand’ means in this case, but the club said they would be making no further comment.

Fast bowler Brooks was named by former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq in a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee hearing regarding racism at the club on Tuesday.

Rafiq said Brooks – a two-time County Championship winner at Yorkshire – began referring to Pujara as ‘Steve’ because he could not pronounce his first name.

Pujara said he did not like being called ‘Steve’ and would prefer his team-mates to call him Cheteshwar.

In a statement, Brooks said: “I acknowledge that the language used in two tweets I made in 2012 was unacceptable and I deeply regret using it. 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.

“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.

“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.”

Tymal Mills, the recipient of one of the tweets from Brooks, said he had accepted his apology.

“Jack and I have spoken about it and I know how much he regrets having used the language he did,” the Sussex and England pace bowler said in a statement.

“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.”