Michael Vaughan has temporarily stepped down from commentary duties with the BBC, the former England captain said on Tuesday after he was embroiled in the racism controversy involving former Yorkshire player Azeem Rafiq.
Rafiq, a player of Pakistani descent, alleged that Vaughan told him and two other players of Asian origin that there were “too many of you lot, we need to do something about it” before a match in 2009. Vaughan has strongly denied the accusation.
Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) and a number of individuals were charged following an investigation into the claims.
Vaughan said the main reason he stepped down was “concern for the wellbeing” of his family.
“On numerous occasions, I have put on record my views on the issues concerning YCCC. It is always regrettable when commentary on matters off the field take the focus away from what’s happening on the field,” Vaughan said on Twitter.
“In view of the ongoing dialogue on the subject, I have taken the decision to step back from my work with the BBC for the time being. Stepping back temporarily is also in the interests of the game and I hope that it will minimise any difficulties for my work colleagues.”
Vaughan had previously been dropped from the BBC’s coverage of the Ashes series in Australia last year but returned to the commentary team for England’s Test series against New Zealand.
BBC Sport’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic group sent a letter in which it termed the decision as “totally inexcusable” and a “shocking miscalculation”.
In a a statement, the BBC said they respect Vaughan’s decision.
“Following conversations with Michael Vaughan we have accepted his decision to step away from our cricket coverage. This is a decision we respect and understand. Michael remains under contract to the BBC,” a statement from BBC read.