Michael Vaughan says racism allegations took toll on wife’s mental health

Cricket star Michael Vaughan and his wife Nichola  (Getty Images for Laureus)
Cricket star Michael Vaughan and his wife Nichola (Getty Images for Laureus)

Michael Vaughan has told how public allegations of racism against him had a serious impact on his wife’s mental health.

Vaughan was this week cleared of allegations of racism in the Azeem Rafiq saga. Rafiq, the former Yorkshire player, claimed that in 2009, Vaughan, his captain, had told four Asian players “there are too many of you lot, we need to have a word about that”.

The former England captain’s reputation was restored this week when a Cricket Discipline Commission found that the allegation was “not proved”.

Vaughan has had to contend with the court of public opinion while lengthy legal proceedings took place, which left his wife Nichola waking up in the middle of the night in tears.

“She has struggled more than anybody I’ve seen,” Vaughan said in the Sunday Telegraph. “I’ve been around cricketers who have struggled with mental health, but never someone so close.

“She’s better today, but it’s going to take time. It’s going to take time for me to recover, too. I’m not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me at all. I just want people to realise that this is what you go through when you get cancelled.”

Vaughan opened up on what experiencing so-called “cancel culture” entails.

“I can absolutely tell you that it’s real,” he added.

“And it comes through social media. It’s so dangerous. You used to be innocent until proven guilty. You’re now guilty until proven innocent. Your life gets completely put on hold. Whatever the accusation thrown at you, people on social media just will not allow you to carry on with your life while it’s over your head.”

Vaughan has considered moving to Australia, where he works for Fox Sports, after feeling he had more support from those on the other side of the world.

“I’ve thought about moving to Australia,” he added. “When you think about my time in English cricket, I feel I’ve given a half-decent service.

“But there has been more support from Australia than there has from here in the UK, in terms of cricket. The Australians haven’t taken any side.

“They haven’t said ‘we believe you’ or ‘we don’t believe you’. They’ve just been ringing regularly to ask, ‘Are you all right, mate?’ Sometimes, all you want is for people to check in on you.”