Nottinghamshire's Alex Hales denies giving his dog a racist name
Nottinghamshire star Alex Hales has hit back at allegations that he gave his dog a name with a racial connotation.
The allegations were made on Tuesday by former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq during a DCMS Select Committee meeting looking into the current race row affecting cricket across the country.
Rafiq told the committee that former team-mate Gary Ballance used the name 'Kevin' as a "derogatory" term to refer to any player of colour - the name chosen by Hales for his dog.
"Having heard the allegations made against me, I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog," Hales said in a statement.
"I entirely respect and have huge sympathy for both the stance Azeem Rafiq has taken and what he has had to endure. His evidence was harrowing
"There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in cricket and I will gladly co-operate with any investigation the game's authorities choose to hold."
Nottinghamshire have now launched an internal investigation into the matter and issued a statement re-confirming their commitment to making the sport inclusive for all
“Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club remains totally committed to making cricket in our county, at every level, welcoming and accessible for all,” the statement read.
“We have always tried to create positive and fulfilling cricketing experiences for people from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, and we will continue to do so.
“We acknowledge that, given the experiences recently being shared within the wider game, individuals may not have felt comfortable in voicing their concerns in the past.
“We would encourage anyone who wishes to share concerns or discuss their experiences to come forward and speak freely, either directly to the club or via the ICEC’s recent call for evidence.
“It is vital that individuals do so, in order for the game of cricket to learn and move forward together.
“Should anyone wish to share concerns, we have well-established processes and policies in place to deal with any issues raised. Anyone that comes forward will be treated with the utmost respect and confidentiality.
“Following on from the testimony provided to the DCMS Select Committee regarding Alex Hales, we have commenced the appropriate internal process and will continue to liaise with Alex and his advisers accordingly.”
Since the Rafiq findings went public Essex players Maurice Chambers and Zoheb Sharif have also come forward saying they suffered racism at the club.