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Gloucestershire CCC issues apology to ex-England star Lawrence over racist abuse

Gloucestershire CCC has apologised to former player David ‘Syd’ Lawrence after he spoke out in a Sky Sports documentary about being subjected to racist abuse while playing for the club.

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Gloucestershire CCC has apologised to ex-England star David ‘Syd’ Lawrence over the racist abuse he was subjected to whilst playing for the club.

Lawrence, who played five Test matches for England, taking 18 wickets, debuted for his home county at the age of 17 and would almost certainly have enjoyed a more fruitful career with club and country had he not been hampered by a serious knee injury.

In the Sky Sports documentary You Guys are History , which focused on the historical experiences of black players and officials playing cricket in England and Wales, the former fast bowler spoke about the racial prejudice that plagued his career.

During the programme, he recalled one harrowing experience in his maiden season for the club, back in 1981.



David Lawrence spoke about the racial prejudice he endured in cricket
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Image:

Phil Harris / Daily Mirror)




I remember my first away game with Gloucestershire,” he said.

“Somebody knocks on my door in the evening. I look, and one of my team-mates has left a banana skin there.

“And then subsequently that person, I have to play with for the next 13-14 years. When I was in that room and that happened to me, I said ‘I’m going to be harder, tougher than ever – nobody is ever going to push me around.'”









The documentary aired on September 3 and some three weeks later, Gloucestershire have issued a public statement apologising “unreservedly” to the now 57-year-old.

“Immediately after the transmission of the programme, and on hearing of this incident, the Club contacted David; he has now met both the Chair and Chief Executive to discuss this in detail. He also talked about another historical incident where he was racially abused by the crowd at an away fixture, but this was never investigated by the Club,” read the statement.



David Lawrence holds his leg after falling over during a match between England and New Zealand in 1992




“The behaviour and attitudes David experienced were as unacceptable then as they are today. The Club therefore wishes to apologise unreservedly to David for all the hurt he has experienced, both as a Gloucestershire player and as part of the wider cricketing network.

“We would like to thank David for his openness, honesty and courage in coming forward and speaking up.”

The club extended the apology to “any player or employee of the Club who may have experienced similar prejudices at Gloucestershire.,” and vowed to liaise with current and former players to develop an “inclusive environment.”

In 1992, Lawrence was bowling for England against New Zealand when his knee cap shattered, and he was forced to retire from the sport aged just 29. He later he made a career for himself in bodybuilding.


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