Editor Simon Hughes axed by The Cricketer magazine for ‘soft line on racism’ after former Middlesex bowler compared the use of ‘P**i’ to him being insulted by team-mates for being bald in podcast on Azeem Rafiq scandal
Former Middlesex bowler Simon Hughes has been dismissed as editor of The Cricketer magazine after appearing to take a soft line on racism.
The broadcaster and author is understood to have upset fellow members of staff with his comments in a recent podcast on the Azeem Rafiq affair, in which he suggested that Gary Ballance calling his former Yorkshire a team-mate a ‘P**i’ could be explained by the context, and that other dressing-room name-calling could be excused as banter.
Hughes’ remarks in the podcast broadcast on November 5, in which he compared use of the P-word to being insulted by team-mates for being bald during his own playing career, prompted a backlash on social media and led to an internal review at The Cricketer.
Simon Hughes (上記) has been dismissed as editor of The Cricketer magazine
Sportsmail has learned that the magazine’s owners have opted not to renew Hughes’ contract as a result — with the issue to be published today his last as editor of the prestigious, 100-year-old title.
Hughes is believed to be saddened to leave after seven years, but conceded privately that he could have chosen his words more carefully in the podcast, in which he also stated that using the P-word was totally unacceptable.
He had championed the cause of greater diversity in cricket during his time at the magazine, and ran a special issue on the Black Lives Matter movement last year.
Hughes has worked there for seven years as well as presenting their weekly podcast, The Analyst Inside Cricket, a reference to his previous broadcasting work analysing the game for Channel 4.
The 61-year-old’s views also caused controversy last summer when he criticised the ECB’s decision to suspend Ollie Robinson from England’s Test team after the emergence of historic racist tweets, which Hughes described as a ‘total over-reaction’ and a ‘media lynching’.
Hughes offered a far stronger condemnation of racism in his final podcast broadcast this week which featured an interview with former England bowler Dean Headley.
The episode began with the presenter offering an emotional acceptance that the sport needs to do more to combat discrimination and bigotry.
Hughes prompted a backlash with comments in a recent podcast on the Azeem Rafiq affair