Somerset County Cricket Club has confirmed it is investigating social media posts by their current player Jack Brooks, made before he joined the county.
ITV News understands two of the tweets date back to 2012 when he used the offensive word “N****” in reply to two separate posts, one of them from the England T20 star Tymal Mills.
Mills had tweeted “great work by the boys winning the series out in Sri Lanka! Top work lads”.
Brooks was tagged in the post and replied, “Cheers N****!”
Another identical reply from Brooks came in response to a tweet from another cricketer Stewart Laudat after he had posted “Great work Brooksy.”
Somerset CCC said in a statement on Thursday that it has "decided to reprimand Jack, remind him of his responsibilities and require him to participate in extensive training on Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity" following an investigation into the tweets and into claims he "was involved in the adoption of the nickname 'Steve' for an overseas player at Yorkshire were also investigated."
The club said it had "spoken with Jack at length about the nature and content of his comments. There is no doubt that these comments are unacceptable."
It added: "Somerset CCC condemn the use of language which has any racist connotations. Jack agrees with this sentiment and is embarrassed and devastated that his comments offended people and he has acknowledged that, whilst they were made nearly a decade ago when he was less mature, the content of the posts was wrong and not in accordance with his personal values."
The statement also said the club was "extremely disappointed to hear that Jack and his partner have this week been in receipt of threatening posts on social media."
The posts have been reported to authorities for investigation, it said.
Brooks, who has recently deleted his Twitter account, apologised "unreservedly" for the "unacceptable" language he used in the tweets in a statement, adding: "I deeply regret using it."
Laudat said in a Twitter thread: "I understand that things that have been said or expressed are now under increased scrutiny and rightly so if we are to address all forms of discrimination.
"But without context, misunderstandings and misconceptions are easily made.
"It upsets me that Jacks character is being questioned over this tweet because I’ve known him for a long time and have never been made to feel uncomfortable in any conversations we’ve had."
Brooks was mentioned during Azeem Rafiq’s testimony to MPs on Tuesday for giving Yorkshire’s Cheteshwar Pujara the nickname ‘Steve’ because he couldn’t pronounce the Indian born cricketer’s first name easily.
Rafiq said: “Jack Brooks I think started it where he didn’t feel the need call him by his first name. There is an interview with Cheteshwar where he said, “I’d prefer them not to.””
The former cricketer said use of the nickname became widespread, not just at the club but in the media too, which reflected institutional failings and showed people how they could behave.
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ITV News has seen a series of tweets over several years where Brooks calls Pujara by the name ‘Steve’.
One of them followed a short exchange when sports journalist Dave Bracegirdle asked Pujara what he wanted to be called; Bracegirdle says Pujara replied “Pujji, call me Pujji.”
Brooks responded on Twitter “Steve is his name #Steve”.
Brooks added in a statement: "The two players to whom I sent the tweets are my friends and it was certainly not my intention to cause distress or offence to them or anyone who read them. It is my understanding that neither individual was offended at the time, but I accept that language is important and that a word I used may have caused offence to others.
"I condemn discrimination of any sort and I should never have used discriminatory language, no matter what the intention and context was. I wholeheartedly apologise for any offence caused.
"With reference to my naming in Azeem Rafiq’s statement to MPs this week, the use of the name 'Steve' related to some people having difficult names to pronounce. When this has occurred in the past in a dressing room environment, it has been commonplace to give nicknames, regardless of creed or race.
"I admit to having used it in this context and now accept that it was disrespectful and wrong to do so. I have reached out and apologised to Cheteshwar for any offence that I have caused him or his family. At the time I didn’t recognise this as racist behaviour, but I can now see that it was not acceptable.
"I have always tried to act with the best endeavours for inclusion and harmony in the team environments, and I have strived to learn, understand and develop as a person. This has been helped by the diversity and inclusion training that I have undertaken this year and will continue to participate in via Somerset CCC.
"I will ensure that my actions and language are never brought into question like this again. I want to be clear and give an unequivocal apology to anybody who has ever been upset or offended by my actions. I am genuinely sorry."