Former England captain Adam Hollioake took to his personal blog yesterday to say that Yorkshire’s Andrew Gale is a victim of misplaced political correctness and should be found innocent of racially abusing Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince.
Gale, the Yorkshire captain, is the first player to be charged with using racist language under the England and Wales Cricket Board’s disciplinary code following a bust-up with South African Prince during this month’s Roses match.
Gale’s use of the word “Kolpak” — shorthand for a band of overseas players who utilise an obscure employment law to play in England without restriction — lies at the root of the charge.
But Hollioake, who briefly led England’s one-day side and also played four Tests, thinks the issue has been blown out of proportion by a lack of understanding around racial issues.
Hollioake wrote: “Firstly I don’t know Andrew Gale and am in no way qualified to tell you that he isn’t a racist but I am also telling you that no-one is qualified to call this man a racist based on this on-field sledge. It is simply name calling.
“It is so often semi-intelligent white people who have never suffered racism who want to acknowledge their so-called understanding of racism by mimicking that which they hear in the media.
“I think Andrew Gale’s comments are simply more likely due to a lack of something better to come back with, or a heat of the moment comment that hasn’t been thought out clearly.
“I understand it is easy for everyone to label Andrew Gale a racist but I am willing to wager that as the captain of Yorkshire he is very unlikely a racist! To hold such a respected position would take years of people analysing your personality and ability to lead a side that includes non-white players. Labelling him a racist is unfair and I feel satisfies people’s desire to prove that they are not racist and to air their political view.
“I think it is important that the game polices itself somewhat and I think that Andrew Gales comment should be met with a frown from within the cricketing community. I don’t think that his comment defines him and should I look up Google the first thing that pops up is that he has been suspended for a racist comment.”