Former England captain Michael Vaughan on Thursday announced that he is stepping back from his work with the BBC over the “ongoing dialogue” around the racism investigation at Yorkshire. The development means that Vaughan will not be a part of BBC’s commentary team for the upcoming rescheduled fifth Test between England and India at Edgbaston, starting from July 1.
Vaughan was dropped from the BBC coverage of the Ashes last November after he was named in former player Azeem Rafiq’s account for making a racist comment before a Yorkshire match in 2009. That time, Rafiq had claimed that Vaughan had once told a group of four Asian players at Yorkshire “there are too many of you lot, we need to do something about it”.
Though Vaughan got back on BBC’s commentary team for England’s 3-0 Test sweep of New Zealand, the BBC on Monday acknowledged that the BBC Sport BAME Advisory Group and 5 Live Diversity Group had raised concerns over Vaughan’s reinstatement in an open letter, calling it “totally inexcusable” and a “shocking miscalculation”.
“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. In view of the ongoing dialogue on the subject, I have taken the decision to step back from my work for the BBC for the time being.
“The key driver for this is my concern for the wellbeing of my family members and my wish to protect their family life. Stepping back temporarily is also in the interests of the game and I hope that it will minimise any difficulties for my work colleagues,” said Vaughan in a statement.
The BBC quickly said in a statement, “Following conversations with Michael Vaughan we’ve 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.”