England Test captain and Yorkshire batter Joe Root on Thursday vowed to fully support to the club's battle against institutional racism as he called for the stakeholders of English cricket to "educate, unify and reset". In a statement issued through England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday, Root said that racism does not have an other side of the story as it needs to be weeded out from cricket and society.
"In my capacity as England captain and as a senior player at Yorkshire, I feel compelled to address the current situation that has consumed the sport and YCCC," Root said. "I just want the sport to be a place where everyone is enjoying it for the beautiful game it is and feels equal and safe. It hurts knowing this has happened at YCCC so close to home. It’s my club that I care passionately about it. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting. There is no debate about racism, no one side or other. It is simply intolerable."
Root's statement followed ECB's announcement of launching an investigation into the allegations of institutional racism within Yorkshire by former captain Azeem Rafiq after the club deemed that no disciplinary action was needed against its members and staff.
"These events have fractured our game and torn lives apart. We must ow recover and come back together as fans, players, media, and those who work within cricket. We have an opportunity to make the sport I love better for everyone," Root said.
On November 4, ECB suspended Yorkshire from hosting any major or international matches while several of the county's sponsors severed ties. Chairman Roger Hutton resigned and called for the senior club figures to follow him.
"I want to see change and actions that will see YCCC rise from this with a culture that harnesses a diverse environment with trust across all communities that support cricket in the county. We need to educate, unify and reset. I will reach out to YCCC new Chair, Lord Patel, to offer support however I’m able," Root said.
"We have to find a way to move forward and make sure this never happens again. In my opinion, this is a societal issue and needs addressing further afield than just cricket,"
With the Ashes set to begin next month in Australia, Root urged the fans to back the team.
"With the Ashes fast approaching, I’d really like the fans back home to unite and get behind us as a team. We will be playing for you all,"