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Michael Carberry speaks out on racism and prejudice in cricket

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Former England batsman Michael Carberry says black athletes are scared to speak out about racism over fears of it having a detrimental effect on their careers

Michael Carberry says black cricketers feel like they risk their careers if they attempt to confront prejudice in dressing-rooms.

The former Hampshire opener took his first steps in professional cricket with Surrey, enjoying a career spanning almost 20 years and playing for England on 13 occasions across different formats.

The 39-year-old bemoaned the dearth of black role models throughout the game in this country and says black players have to have a thicker skin than most if they want to forge a career as a cricketer.

"The numbers tell you everything," Carberry told Sky Sports News.

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England fast bowler James Anderson says the England squad will discuss how to support the Black Lives Matter movement ahead of their return to action against the West Indies

"There are no black people in prominent positions in the game at any level, right the way down to playing level. There are no black people in positions where you can ultimately stand toe to toe and make the big decisions.

"It starts when you walk in the dressing room - people don't think you understand normal English and they talk to you like you can't speak properly. They comment on things you might wear, they comment on your physical body.

"This is the situation unfortunately that a lot of black athletes find themselves in - where they've got to weigh up 'I really want to say something to put this guy or this person in their place, but how is it going to impact me down the line?

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"And this is probably why you have so few people come out and really speak out about what is going on."

In response to Carberry's interview, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) told Sky Sports News: "We listened carefully to Michael Carberry's interview and admire him for speaking out on this crucial topic. We know that systemic racism spans institutions and sectors across the country and we would be naïve to think that sport and cricket is immune.

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The ICC has released a video to promote its anti-racism message and highlight the importance of diversity and inclusivity

"We truly believe that cricket is a game for everyone but understand that sadly barriers to enjoying our sport exist for many communities. We have made big strides over the past few years.

"Our 2018 Inclusion and Diversity Plan drove investments in diversifying cricket, breaking down barriers and reforming our structures. It supported reform in our approach to participation and growth with the launch of our South Asian Action Plan which showed how much we needed to do across the recreational game, elite pathway, coaching, attendance, media, communications, administration and culture.

"This is already having positive results for all BAME groups including the installation of non-traditional playing facilities in urban areas, the recruitment of BAME female community mentors and the delivery of cricket at schools with a higher than national average representation of BAME pupils. This is a lengthy process but we are committed to making it a success.

"We recognise that need to have a whole game approach to increase diversity in governance and management structures across cricket. At the ECB we have adopted the 'Rooney Rule' for coaching jobs across the England teams as part of our plan to support the progression of BAME coaches.

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West Indies captain Jason Holder says cricket's focus should be on finding ways to tackle racism

"We are also working with the First-Class Counties to support the introduction of this rule at a county level. We are currently expanding our Diversity Action Plan to improve the diversity and inclusion of the ECB workforce - critically, the learnings from the Black Lives Matter movement will help inform this.

"We know we have a long way to go until we are fully representative as a sport, particularly in relation to black communities. That's why voices like Michael's are so important and we will continue to listen, educate ourselves and face uncomfortable truths in order to create action and long-term change."

The Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) told Sky Sports News: "We are currently editing a vodcast where Michael Carberry is a guest along with PCA Director Isa Guha, Mark Butcher and Dean Headley where they discuss equality and diversity.

"This vodcast is due to be released next week along with the PCA's action to assess the current situation and outline what is going to be done to improve education surrounding inclusion and diversity from the PCA's perspective."

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