A player called me a “f***ing monkey”: Chambers recalls racist abuse in county cricket

Maurice Chambers, a Jamaican-born seamer has opened up about the racist abuse he faced while playing for Essex as well as Northamptonshire.

As the controversy surrounding the Yorkshire racism case storms on, Maurice Chambers, a Jamaican-born seamer has opened up about the racist abuse he faced while playing for Essex as well as Northamptonshire.

Talking to The Cricketer, Chambers said he was called a “f***ing monkey” by one of his colleagues. He also revealed that a senior member of the coaching staff read out racist jokes in the dressing room. It got so bad that Chambers used to go home and cry after matches.

“We had a team night out in Chelmsford,” Chambers told The Cricketer. “The other player got pretty drunk. When I got home, he threw a banana down the stairs and said: ‘Climb for it, you f***ing monkey.’

“I mentioned the incident to my mum and she reported it. The other player was forced to apologise to me but I still had to live with him for a while longer.

“Apart from that time, I never reported anything. I was always worried about being seen as a troublemaker. I didn’t want to do anything to either risk a new contract or isolating myself further.”

In another incident, Chambers recalls fumbling a ball during fielding practise. Another player, who was also of African-Caribbean heritage, fumbled the next ball, leading to the coach shouting: ‘Is this a black thing?’

“Several of the other players laughed,” Chambers said. “We didn’t find it funny at all.

“The same coach used to read out racist jokes on his phone in the dressing room. It would have been nice if some of my teammates had intervened to say ‘this isn’t right’, but it never happened,” Chambers told The Cricketer.

“On several other occasions, a senior player would ask me if I wanted a banana. He would do it with a sly smile, like he was trying to rile me. When I became upset, he would turn to the coach and say ‘hey, I’m only offering him some fruit.’ The coach would laugh. It was humiliating. It was isolating. I never told anyone, but I would go home at the end of the day and cry. It made me very unhappy,” he said.

Things were not much better in Northamptonshire where he moved after a short stint at Warwickshire.

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

The England and Wales Cricket Board has said it is “appalled” by fresh racism claims made by former Essex player Maurice Chambers and has vowed to investigate the matter alongside the other allegations at the club.

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