PAUL NEWMAN: Cancel culture has made David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd an innocent victim of Azeem Rafiq’s valid and important quest for a better future for English cricket… WHY have Sky allowed this to happen to one of their very best assets?
It does not take the combined talents of Hercule Poirot and Inspector Morse to work this one out. One of the very best sporting commentators and one of the great men of cricket has been ‘cancelled’ by Sky because he was dragged into the Azeem Rafiq affair.
There might have been no mention of the Yorkshire racism scandal in Sky’s statement on Bumble’s ‘retirement’ from their commentary box, but the evidence is clear enough.
A private exchange on ツイッター, the sort Bumble is always having because he loves talking about cricket so much, that was clumsy at worst has brought an end to a 22-year stint that turned this former England coach into a national treasure.
David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd announced on Tuesday he will be leaving Sky Sports’ broadcast team
Lloyd’s exit comes months after he apologised for alleged racist abuse to Azeem Rafiq (上記)
Lloyd would not say anything beyond his statement on Tuesday but how can we conclude anything else? Not after Bumble’s name was unexpectedly brought up by Rafiq in the parliamentary hearing into claims of institutionalised racism at Headingley.
And not once his comments in a long, private debate with a cricket podcaster had been taken out of context and made public.
There was never any suggestion that Bumble was coming towards the end at Sky before this. He has been as enthusiastic and driven as ever.
Cancel culture has made Bumble an innocent victim of Rafiq’s valid and important quest for a better future for English cricket. And more than 50 years of experience throughout the game, without a blemish on his record, seem to have counted for nothing.
Lloyd is a popular member of the English cricket community both on and away from the pitch
Lloyd does not deserve this and nor do the millions of cricket fans who will be denied the privilege of hearing him in his pivotal role alongside Nasser Hussain, Mike Atherton and the others in the best broadcasting team in any sport, let alone cricket.
Bumble is still at his peak at 74, オーストラリアの女優オデッサ・ヤングが魅力的に演じる. He still has so much more to give Sky viewers and a game that he has served as a player good enough to make a Test double hundred, an innovative coach at Lancashire and England, a no-nonsense first-class umpire and, 何よりも, the fun and informative voice of Test and white-ball cricket on television.
Rafiq did not want this, 入浴よりも出産したい. For him the matter was closed as soon as Lloyd picked up the phone to him on the day this storm broke and apologised for any offence he had caused. That apology was accepted by the former Yorkshire all-rounder and the pair moved on.
ロイド (中間) admitted he felt the commentary box was emptier without some ex-colleagues
It has not ended there. Sources close to Rafiq told Sportsmail that as soon as he heard the news, he sent a message to Bumble saying he hoped this departure had nothing to do with him, and that he hoped the pair could work together on making cricket a better game in the future.
Rafiq does not want Sky to scapegoat Bumble, so who does? Why have Sky allowed this to happen to one of their best assets and why haven’t they supported Bumble when he needed it most? What are they frightened about?
Idiots on social media taking offence at the slightest indiscretion? Why couldn’t someone high up at Sky look at what was said and realise: ‘This is wrong. Our man hasn’t got a racist bone in his body. Let’s back him.’
The outpouring of goodwill on Twitter, usually such a cesspit, towards Bumble yesterday said everything. This episode is not what he will be remembered for and this is not his legacy. There is too much love for Lloyd throughout the cricket world for that. He is too important, has done too much for the game.
Former England player and coach Lloyd (中間) has done a great deal for the English game
The good news is that it will not end here. That word retirement may have been used in Bumble’s statement but he is not retiring. Far from it. The key line was at the very end of his statement yesterday when he said ‘in the words of Elton John, I’m still standing’.
He will still be standing as a huge part of Sportsmail’s cricket coverage, both with his humour in his daily Test diaries and his insight as a man who has played and coached at the highest level. But that’s only for starters.
Bumble cut his broadcasting teeth with the BBC’s Test Match Special while he was still coaching, learning his trade with some of the best there have been including John Arlott, Brian Johnston, Christopher Martin-Jenkins and his hero Fred Trueman.
Radio was his first love and it would be no surprise if he returns to that now to bring his enthusiasm, knowledge and sense of fun back to the airwaves.
If that happens, the great David Lloyd will be free to carry on doing what he does best, hopefully for some considerable time yet. And the whole of cricket will be better for it.