Michael Vaughan: BBC staff condemn ‘damaging and embarrassing’ decision to stand by former England captain

Michael Vaughan has been part of the BBC’s commentary team for the third Test between England and New Zealand

Members of BBC staff have written a letter condemning the broadcaster’s decision to stand by Michael Vaughan in the wake of the Yorkshire racism scandal.

The letter, written by the BBC Sport BAME Advisory Group and 5 Live Diversity Group, strongly criticises the BBC’s handling of Vaughan and brands the call to employ the former England cricket captain for coverage of the current series with New Zealand as “totally inexcusable” and a “shocking miscalculation”.

Earlier this month the England and Wales Cricket Board announced that Yorkshire and “a number of individuals” had been charged over an investigation into allegations of racism at the county, and how the club had handled those allegations. As detailed in the letter and widely reported at the time, Vaughan is among those charged by the ECB.

Former Yorkshire bowler Azeem Rafiq has previously alleged that Vaughan said to a group of players of Asian ethnicity in 2009 that there were “too many of your lot” at the county and that “we need to do something about it”.

Vaughan has categorically denied making such a comment.

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He was dropped by the BBC in November but returned to its TMS team following the Ashes series.

Yorkshire and England spinner Adil Rashid has corroborated Rafiq’s allegation, as did former Pakistan cricketer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan. A fourth player, Ajmal Shahzad, has said he had no recollection of such a comment being made.

As revealed by The Cricketer, the letter reads: “With Michael Vaughan implicated in this scandal and now understood to be charged by the ECB, it feels totally inexcusable that he should continue to appear, as a representative of BBC Sport.

“We appreciate that there are elements of detail that can’t be shared about Michael Vaughan’s reinstatement and that he is innocent until proven guilty. But surely, on a human level, it must be acknowledged how damaging, embarrassing and unsettling this is to many colleagues across BBC Sport, BBC Radio 5 Live, and the wider BBC as a whole.

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“The depth of feeling (both personal and professional) and outpouring of emotion towards this decision is excruciating, overwhelming and unbearable. Colleagues from all backgrounds from across the BBC have been in touch to share their disbelief and dismay, with some moved to tears because of the apparent lack of empathy, understanding and leadership over this. What support is in place for colleagues deeply affected by this, but actually still having to work with Michael Vaughan?

“This really is a shocking miscalculation.”

More to follow…

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