Former Northamptonshire fast bowler speaks out about racist abuse

'Racism is the antithesis of what Northamptonshire County Cricket Club stands for' - club issues statement after interview with The Cricketer

By Jeremy Casey
Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 3:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 3:18 pm
Maurice Chambers
Maurice Chambers

Former Northamptonshire fast bowler Maurice Chambers says he suffered racist abuse from a team-mate while on the playing staff at the County Ground.

The Jamaican-born player made the revelation to The Cricketer magazine as part of an interview that mainly detailed how he suffered some shocking racial abuse over a 10-year spell with Essex.

But after leaving Chelmsford, Chambers signed for Northamptonshire for a two-year stint from 2014, and says he also suffered abuse at the hands of an unnamed County player, who is no longer connected with the club.

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Maurice Chambers

“We were travelling to an away game once and I was sitting three or four rows from the back of the bus,” Chambers told The Cricketer.

“There was a guy on the backseat of the coach listening to rap music on headphones. He was singing along to the words and it included repeated use of the ‘N’ word.

“He must have seen me looking at him, because he asked: ‘You’re okay with this, aren’t you mate?’ I didn’t reply. I just put my headphones back on.

“At that stage he came closer and said to me: ‘You guys use it in American music. I’m just singing along.’ ‘We’re not in America,’ I replied. He stopped singing along.”

And on the player in question, Chambers added: “I never liked him, to be honest.

“He was a bully. One on occasion, when I was 12th man, he made a point of shouting at me because I had a headphone in while watching the game. Even the captain was like: ‘What’s his problem?’"

Northamptonshire issued a statement, which read: “Racism is the antithesis of what Northamptonshire County Cricket Club stands for.

"The club is proud to have welcomed cricketers from many different nations, communities and traditions over many years and will continue to do so.

“The club is disappointed to hear of Maurice's experience and this clearly goes against the expectation we hold for all Northamptonshire players and staff.

“We welcome the opportunity to talk directly with Maurice and any past player about their time with Northamptonshire and encourage them to reach out.”

The news comes in the wake of the racism scandal at Yorkshire that has dominated the world of cricket in recent weeks.

A report found former White Rose player Azeem Rafiq was a victim of 'racial harassment and bullying' but the county decided not to discipline anyone.

That led to widespread condemnation and saw the resignations of chairman Roger Hutton and of chief executive Mark Arthur, with Rafiq appearing before a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in Parliament on Tuesday morning.

Prior to that though, Chambers' story in The Cricketer hit the headlines, with the 34-year-old recalling how he endured sustained racial abuse while at Essex, and also from a former team-mate at Northamptonshire.

“That’s why it feels so important to speak now," said Chambers.

"I’ve been inspired by the example of Azeem Rafiq and I want other players to have the courage to speak up and share their experiences.

"Only by letting people know about the things that have being going on can we bring about change.

"I don’t want any money, or anything like that. I just don’t want anyone to go through what I did. I think we need to have a zero tolerance attitude to racism.”

Chambers played in 14 first-class matches during his two-year spell Northants, before being released at the end of the 2015 season.