Somerset pacer Jack Brooks, who according to Azeem Rafiq's testimony was the player who issued Cheteshwar Pujara the ‘Steve’ nickname, in a statement, admitted that he indulged in unacceptable behaviour during his time at Yorkshire and revealed that he ‘reached out and apologised to Cheteshwar’ for coining the nickname ‘Steve’.
Pujara, during his time at Yorkshire, was referred to as ‘Steve’, which according to later revelations was a name used by those in Yorkshire to address every person of color.
Brooks, a Somerset player now, stated that he is ‘genuinely sorry’ to anybody who has ever been upset or offended by his actions, and assured that “my actions and language are never brought into question like this again.”
"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," Brooks said, reported ESPN Cricinfo.
"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.
"I have always tried to act with the best endeavours for inclusion and harmony in the team environments, and I have strived to learn, understand and develop as a person. This has been helped by the diversity and inclusion training that I have undertaken this year and will continue to participate in via Somerset CCC.
"I will ensure that my actions and language are never brought into question like this again. I want to be clear and give an unequivocal apology to anybody who has ever been upset or offended by my actions. I am genuinely sorry."
Earlier, historical tweets sent out by Brooks, including one to Tymal Mills, which had the usage of the word n**** emerged, and the 37-year-old apologised for the same but asserted that “it was certainly not my intention to cause distress or offence to them or anyone who read them.”
"I acknowledge that the language used in two tweets I made in 2012 was unacceptable and I deeply regret using it," Brooks said.
"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."
The other player to whom Brooks sent the tweet was former first-class cricketer Stewart Vernon Laudat, but Laudat took to Twitter to clarify that he considers Brooks to be a good friend and claimed that things can sometimes be taken out of context.
“With regard to the historical tweet that has come to light between my friend Jack Brooks and I, I would like to state that I understand that things that have been said or expressed are now under increased scrutiny and rightly so if we are to address all forms of discrimination.
“But without context, misunderstandings and misconceptions are easily made. It upsets me that Jacks character is being questioned over this tweet because I’ve known him for a long time and have never been made to feel uncomfortable in any conversations we’ve had.
“I consider Jack to be a good friend and a credit to his family and his profession,” Laudat tweeted.
Meanwhile, Somerset also issued a statement on their website condemning Brooks' past actions. Brooks has not been fined or suspended, but instead will be participating in "extensive training on Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity."
"Somerset CCC condemn the use of language which has any racist connotations. Jack agrees with this sentiment and is embarrassed and devastated that his comments offended people and 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. Jack has engaged honestly and openly throughout the investigation and unreservedly apologies for his past errors," read the club statement.
"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.
"There is no place for racism at Somerset Cricket or across the game as a whole. The Club encourages anyone with information on incidents which may have occurred in the past to report them to the Club to ensure that lessons are learned. Any information received will be kept confidential and investigated. We are listening."