The BBC removed Michael Vaughan from the Tuffers and Vaughan Show on Radio 5 live on Monday after two cricketers claimed they overheard the former England captain make racist remarks when playing for Yorkshire in 2009. Vaughan, who has worked as an expert summariser and analyst on Test Match Special for the past 12 years, was accused of telling three Asian-origin players before a county match in Nottingham that there were “too many of you bunch, we need to do something about it.”
The temporary suspension is believed to be in place to give senior BBC executives more time to investigate the allegations against Vaughan, who has worked for the corporation as an expert analyst, pundit, and broadcaster since 2009, and it could be prolonged. Yorkshire will initiate an investigation, it was reported on Thursday night, after another former player came forward to say he was subjected to racist abuse while at the club. In the early 2000s, the unnamed Asian-American footballer was said to have been the victim of “both apparent and sneaky” racist abuse, according to the Daily Mail.
Vaughan did not respond to a request for comment from the Guardian. He said he “totally and categorically” disputed using those words in his Daily Telegraph column on Thursday evening, where he first announced that he had been involved in a probe into Azeem Rafiq’s charges of institutional racism at the county. However, his claims were called into question by a second Yorkshire player, former Pakistan all-rounder Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, who claimed to have overheard Vaughan’s remarks. Vaughan’s involvement in the affair came just 24 hours after Gary Ballance acknowledged using a racial slur in chats with Rafiq. Ballance, who was born in Zimbabwe, claimed he and Rafiq “remained closest friends during the period we exchanged these inappropriate comments,” with his teammate visiting Ballance’s family in Zimbabwe.