England’s T20 World Cup winner Alex Hales has been reprimanded for historic social media posts which showed him appearing in ‘blackface’.
Hales, who helped Jos Buttler’s side to glory in Melbourne at the weekend, was pictured on Facebook in 2009 attending a fancy dress party as rapper Tupac Shakur and the images surfaced publicly in 2021.
The 32-year-old admitted a breach of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s directive 3.3, relating to acts “which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket”.
An additional charge brought pertaining to the governing body’s anti-discrimination code was dropped by the ECB, and cricket discipline commission adjudicator Chris Tickle decided that Hales’ previous apologies and lack of malicious intent counted in his favour.
While opting to make the reprimand and judgement public, Tickle imposed no fine, costs or invited any further expressions of remorse.
“His appreciation of rap music and Tupac was widely known. He was one of Mr Hales’ favourite musicians. No offence was taken by anyone at the time or subsequently,” wrote Tickle.
“Mr Hales did not believe his actions were racist or offensive at the time, though he has acknowledged that he would not dress in that manner now. He is older and more mature. Given that context, I find that there was no racist or discriminatory intent in dressing as he did and in posing for the photo.”
Former Warwickshire and Leicestershire player Ateeq Javid has also been reprimanded for a series of anti-Semitic Facebook messages exchanged with racism whistleblower Azeem Rafiq in 2011.
His offensive comments were deemed to constitute “racist and discriminatory conduct” by Tickle, who previously brought the same judgement on Rafiq for his part in the conversation in October.