A thoughtful Social Media post from Yorkshire member Matt Loades, which very much deserves a wider audience.

Aside from responding to sensible debate this will be my last word on this for while as I sadly accept that certain parties will never understand the seriousness of the situation. I wrote this earlier this morning. This is my opinion on the whole sorry situation. I feel deflated.

A Message to All Cricket Lovers Friday 5th November 2021

Today is a sad day. A watershed moment in the history of our beautiful game, played the world over by all races, religions and creeds. Racism is intolerable. Defending racism is unacceptable. Ignoring racism is unforgivable. Yorkshire is my home county. The county of my birth. I played cricket for many years in Yorkshire and have been supporting Yorkshire County Cricket Club since around 1970 and probably earlier due to my families involvement in Yorkshire cricket.

I am heartbroken at the current state of affairs within this great club of ours. It is inexcusable that matters have not been handled correctly within the hierarchy of YCCC. As supporters we have to accept our position, whatever the cost. Racism goes beyond cricket, beyond sport and needs to be tackled head on by everyone. It is not acceptable to judge anyone, anywhere based on the colour of their skin or their beliefs.

There are countless campaigns running all over the world to ‘kick it out’ but this message isn’t enough and too many people are taking the easy option of saying it is not their problem. Wrong! Anyone who has said ‘It’s just banter’ or tried to justify defending the actions within YCCC are as guilty as the racist’s themselves. This is beyond unacceptable. There is no grey area here, this is no witch hunt against YCCC, this is not a case of ‘he said, so I said’, this is not a heated cricket debate about new competitions or changes to playing conditions, this is racism.

There is no defence.Whatever comes out in secret reports, Government meetings and hearings, media outlets, social media etc, will not change the fact that someone has been made to feel inadequate, insecure and scared because of the colour of their skin or their religious beliefs. It doesn’t matter what he said in retort, it doesn’t matter if certain allegations remain unproven, it doesn’t matter what any of us think, this is wholly unacceptable and can’t be tolerated any longer.

I feel sure that this will not be an isolated case either at Yorkshire or the wider cricketing community, but eradicating racism from our game has to begin somewhere and we at Yorkshire should stand up and be counted and agree that racists are abhorrent and will no longer be tolerated within our club.I know many people feel it is very unfair to punish the whole club and all supporters, but I disagree. In my opinion serious action and maximum discomfort have to be the way to hope that racists, racist sympathisers, doubters, head in sand supporters and ignorant people, start to see that racism is evil.

As I already mentioned this is bigger than cricket and a society problem that has to be addressed now and by everyone. I believe silence is being seen as acceptance and we have to find a way to come together and stop all racism.If Yorkshire County Cricket Club have to start at the bottom of division 2 next season, with a whole new team, new board, new management structure and no sponsors, then so be it. Cricket isn’t bigger than racism.

Staying silent and pretending this isn’t your problem is part of the problem. Until such a time as everyone is accepted in society regardless of skin colour, religion, gender or class, the system is broken, society is guilty and cricket is an insignificance by comparison.The coming days will dictate how YCCC are thought of moving forward. The damage is already done and the silence from the club and senior players is shocking. Sadly, as we heard last night, an ex senior player has been named in the report, which he denies, and I won’t be surprised if more names, and counties, come forward in the coming weeks, before the parliamentary hearings.

It is a very sad day, a sad and sickening chapter in the history of YCCC. History will view how we all respond in the coming weeks, months and years. There is a rebuilding job to start now within Yorkshire and let’s hope it can be a catalyst for others to follow as we turn this deplorable incident into something that everyone can ultimately be proud of. I remain a true Yorkshire supporter (this has been called into doubt by a few in recent days) but I will not follow a club that does not deal with racism or racists. I hope common sense starts to prevail and we can once again be proud of our club.

Before you jump in to destroy my opinion’s please think, standing against what I have written isn’t a great look for you in the current climate. Constructive comments will of course be useful and healthy debate as always is welcome, but I suggest the debate we should all be having is how to move forward together rather than trying to defend the indefensible

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