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Geoffrey Boycott Apologises for Making Racist Remark

AFP |August 22, 2017, 4:39 PM IST
Geoffrey Boycott Apologises for Making Racist Remark

London: Controversial England batting legend Geoff Boycott made a grovelling apology on Tuesday for remarking he needed to "black up his face" to get a knighthood at an event last week.

The 76-year-old astonished his audience with his comment during a question and answer session in one of the intervals at last week's first Test with the West Indies.

Boycott, who played a pivotal role in organising the 1982 England rebel tour of South Africa when sporting links had been cut with the rest of the world because of the apartheid regime, said knighthoods had been bestowed on West Indian cricketers like "confetti".

"Mine's been turned down twice. I'd better black me face," Boycott is reported to have said according to a guest at the event cited by The Daily Mirror.

The guest at the event — which cost £300 ($385, 327 euros) to attend — said the remark though intended as a joke was "crass" and went down like a "lead balloon".

However, Boycott — who has overcome throat cancer in 2002 to become a popular and outspoken pundit on BBC Radio's globally renowned Test Match Special — took to Twitter on Tuesday to unreservedly apologise.

"Speaking at an informal gathering I was asked a question and I realise my answer was unacceptable," he tweeted.

"I meant no offence but what I said was clearly wrong and I apologise unreservedly.

"I have loved West Indian cricket my whole life and have the utmost respect for its players."

West Indies greats like Viv Richards, Garfield Sobers and Curtly Ambrose have been knighted whilst the last England cricketer to be knighted was Ian Botham — no stranger to controversy himself — in 2007.

Boycott has always contended the reason he has not been knighted is because of his conviction in France — firstly in 1996 and confirmed on appeal in 1998 — for assaulting former girlfriend Margaret Moore.

A durable but unspectacular opening batsman, Boycott played 108 Tests, scoring 8114 runs with 22 centuries at an average of 47.72.

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1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3778 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
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2 England 4253 266
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