London [UK], November 5 (ANI): The sports manufacturing giant Nike has ended kit sponsorship deal with Yorkshire County following the club's internal investigation into the racism issue.
The Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) in September this year had said Azeem Rafiq, during his first spell as a player at YCCC, was the victim of racial harassment and bullying.
Nike move comes after former England batter Gary Ballance admitted that he was the one who used a racial slur against former Yorkshire teammate Rafiq.
"To be clear - I deeply regret some of the language I used in my younger years. The independent enquiry, having heard all of the evidence, accepted that the context of some of the language used was in a "friendly verbal attack" between friends which was not intended to offend or hurt and that no malice was intended," Ballance said in a lengthy statement as per Yorkshire's website.
"Nike will no longer be the kit supplier for Yorkshire CCC. We stand firmly against racism and discrimination of any kind," ESPNcricinfo quoted Nike as saying in a statement.
According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, earlier Emerald Group Publishing and Yorkshire Tea had also withdrawn their sponsorship deals.
In September 2020, the Yorkshire Club received a number of allegations of racism made by former player Azeem Rafiq spanning back to 2008. The Club then launched a full investigation. (ANI)