Green grass, blue skies, white flannels and the gentle thwack of leather on willow: the quintessential image of Englishness that heralds the start of the cricket season. A so-called gentleman's game developed with the principle of fair play at its heart. All well and true - unless you're a person of colour living in Britain today.
Azeem Rafiq, the former Yorkshire cricketer and England youth captain, learnt this the hard way.
When, on 16 November 2021, Azeem stood up and courageously spoke out about his experiences of racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club he was coolly dismissed, told that it was "friendly banter" and that he was a troublemaker. The case blew up, and millions of people voiced their support for Azeem.
It's Not Banter, It's Racism will provide a bracing look at the moments that led up to and defined the watershed meeting where Azeem shared his truth. As well as interviewing key figures involved in the case, Azeem, with The Cricketer's George Dobell, will illustrate how the continual denial of racism is sending us backwards as a society, and how pervasive polarisation has become.
It is with great sensitivity and determination that Azeem will also unpack his own biases, while also building forgiveness and understanding with the communities he has impacted.