Alex Hales has denied that there was any “racial connotation” in the naming of his dog, Kevin, after Azeem Rafiq alleged the name was used by Gary Ballanace to describe “everyone of colour”, something he says was “an open secret” in the England dressing room.
Rafiq, speaking to a DCMS committee to address racism in Yorkshire and English cricket, alleged that Hales, who he says was close to Ballance, named his dog ‘Kevin’ “because it was black”.
“‘Kevin’ was something Gary used to describe everyone of colour, in a very derogatory manner, whether that be publicly, whether that be in the dressing room, whether that be the opposition. This is an open secret within the England dressing room. Anyone that’s come across Gary would know that that’s a phrase that he used to describe people of colour.
“Gary and Alex Hales got really close to each other when they played for England together. I wasn’t present in that dressing room, but what I understand [is] that Alex went on to name his dog ‘Kevin’ because it was black. It’s disgusting how much of a joke it was.”
Instagram posts confirm that Hales does own a black dog named ‘Kevin’, but he “categorically and absolutely” denied the allegations of racism in the naming of the dog.
“Having heard the allegations made against me, I categorically and absolutely deny there was any racial connotation in the naming of my dog,” he said. “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 cooperate with any investigation the game’s authorities choose to hold. Neither I nor my representatives will be making any further comment on the matter.”
Nottinghamshire, Hales’ county club, said they have “commenced the appropriate internal processes” following Rafiq’s allegations.
“Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club remains totally committed to making cricket in our county, at every level, welcoming and accessible for all,” a statement from the club said. “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.”