Maurice Chambers: Second former Essex cricketer alleges racist abuse at club

15 November 2021, 20:21 | Updated: 15 November 2021, 20:55

Maurice Chambers pictured at Essex in 2013.
Maurice Chambers pictured at Essex in 2013. Picture: Getty

By James Morris

Former Essex cricketer Maurice Chambers has become the second player to allege he suffered racist abuse at the club.

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The Jamaican-born bowler described in an interview with The Cricketer how he was subjected to racist bullying at the club, including allegedly having bananas thrown at him and frequently being subjected to racist jokes.

He said the abuse was "humiliating" and "isolating". "I would go home at the end of the day and cry."

The magazine did not name the people accused of racism, but has passed on their details to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as well as Essex County Cricket Club. Both have launched probes.

Mr Chambers, who played for Essex between 2005 and 2013, alleged one incident that happened at a house he was temporarily sharing with another, unnamed player following a team night out.

The 34-year-old, who is now retired, told the magazine: "We had a team night out in Chelmsford. The other player got pretty drunk. When I got home, he threw a banana down the stairs and said: 'Climb for it, you f***ing monkey.'"

Maurice Chambers playing for Essex in 2012.
Maurice Chambers playing for Essex in 2012. Picture: Getty

The new development follows allegations made by former Essex batter Zoheb Sharif, who said he received racist abuse that included being called "bomber" by his team-mates after the September 11 attacks.

Meanwhile, chairman John Faragher resigned last week over an allegation – which he denies – that he used racist language at a board meeting in 2017.

Essex chief executive John Stephenson said he is “extremely disappointed to hear of further historic racial allegations” and that they will be “taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly”.

Mr Stephenson added Mr Chambers has shown “immense bravery in coming forward”.

An ECB spokesperson said it is “appalled” by the allegations.

"We are sorry that Maurice has only been able to feel comfortable to speak out after his playing career had ended and as a game we must ensure that can not prevail.”

Read more: Yorkshire County Cricket coach suspended over 'historic tweet' (from 9 November)

Mr Chambers also alleged racism against a former team-mate at his next club, Northamptonshire, where he played between 2013 and 2015.

He said the player – who also wasn't named and isn't at the club any more – used the N-word while listening to music on the team bus, before telling him "I’m just singing along". Mr Chambers also said he was a bully.

Northamptonshire County Cricket Club said it was "disappointed to hear of Maurice's experience and this clearly goes against the expectation we hold for all Northamptonshire players and staff". It said it would "welcome the opportunity to talk directly with Maurice".

It comes amid the racism scandal at Yorkshire County Cricket Club – with former player Azeem Rafiq taking his allegations of institutional racism at the club to Westminster, saying it's "time for truths" at a parliamentary select committee.

The former spin bowler will give evidence tomorrow to the digital, culture, media and sport committee, which will question him about his wide-ranging claims against the club and have the chance to respond with the freedom of parliamentary privilege.

That means he can speak about specific incidents and individuals without fear of reprisal in the form of civil or criminal proceedings, a safety net that does not ordinarily exist in the public arena.

In his interview with The Cricketer, Mr Chambers said he was "inspired by the example" of Mr Rafiq in speaking out.

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