New Zealand’s management reacted with disbelief today over an “inaccurate rumour” that a player may have used racist language in the presence of groundstaff at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
It has emerged that a member of the catering staff at the ground suspected an insulting word was used during a conversation between a group of New Zealand players last week.
Team manager Lindsay Crocker finds the claim, published in the Antigua Sun newspaper, very hard to credit.
Crocker confirmed nonetheless he has spoken to the International Cricket Council’s World Cup operations director Michael Hall about the allegation.
“We became aware of a rumour circulating among the catering staff that there was a racially based comment made in the players’ lounge as everyone was assembling,” he said.
“We talked to the catering staff and we quickly found there were three or four people in the room at the time. They weren’t able to tell me who they were.
“The three had been talking on the other side of the room, and the catering staff thought they heard this one word ’nigger’ in the conversation.
“They weren’t sure if they heard it accurately. They didn’t hear any other comments, and the comments weren’t directed at the catering staff,” Crocker said.
“It became clear to Michael (Hall) and me there was no great substance to this. There was no complaint or allegation from staff whatsoever.”
Crocker is bemused at the subseqent press coverage and added: “The report was grossly embellished based on a rumour which is utterly inaccurate.”