England opener Alex Hales has been reprimanded for an old social media post in which he had appeared in blackface.
A picture of Hales attending a fancy party in 2009 while dressed as rapper Tupac Shakur surfaced on Facebook in 2021. The English cricketer admitted to a breach of the England and Wales Cricket Board's directive 3.3, relating to acts 'which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket'.
The ECB dropped an additional charge relating to the government body's anti-discrimination code. Cricket discipline commission adjudicator Chris Tickle concluded that the right-handed batter's previous apologies and the absence of malicious intent went in his favor.
Tickle sanctioned no fine or invited any further expression of remorse. He wrote, as quoted by The Guardian:
"His appreciation of rap music and Tupac was widely known. He was one of Mr. Hales’ favorite musicians. No offence was taken by anyone at the time or subsequently. Mr. Hales did not believe his actions were racist or offensive at the time, though he has acknowledged that he would not dress in that manner now.
"He is older and more mature. Given that context, I find that there was no racist or discriminatory intent in dressing as he did and in posing for the photo."
Warwickshire and Derbyshire cricketer Ateeq Javid has also come under the scanner for exchanging some anti-Semitic Facebook messages with Azeem Rafiq in 2011. As per, Tickle, Javid's comments were deemed to constitute 'racist and discriminatory conduct'.
Alex Hales played a key role in England's second T20 World Cup win
On the cricketing front, the veteran's fortunes have turned around as the ECB recalled him to the national side after three years of exile. He replaced the injured Jonny Bairstow and proved his worth in the T20 World Cup in Australia.
Alex Hales' opening stand with skipper Jos Buttler was one of the main reasons behind England's World Cup triumph. The right-handed batter mustered 212 runs in six matches at 42.40, striking at 147.22 with two fifties.
This also made Hales England's second-highest run-getter in the tournament behind Buttler. Buttler and Co. beat Pakistan by five wickets in the final to win the trophy.