English cricket has been dealing with allegations of racism in the game this month. Cricketer Alex Hales has issued an Instagram video where he deals with some accusations put to him.
Here’s what he says:
Eh.. With the..eh.. allegations that have come to light over the last few days, I feel like it’s important that I address these .. em.. myself. I’ll start with the eh.. you know the picture that has appeared in The Sun of-of me em at a fancy dress party in 2009, the theme was musicians and erm you know Tupac is, was, always will be my favourite musician so I went as him. I obviously realise this is incredibly disrespectful and I want to apologise for the offence that this has no doubt caused.. erm it was incredibly reckless and foolish on my behalf erm so I want to apologise for that and apologise to the club for the embarrassment it would have caused them..
Erm.. and I guess.. you know my-my twenties was p.. was full of mistakes like that erm you know reckless mistakes… of the field that cost me…erm you know let down family, let down team mates, let down friends, you know close relationships I had during my twenties erm.. and I guess, you know, some of the decisions I’ll regret for the rest of my life …erm…and… you know the last few years being away from .. you know I guess away from the spotlight a little bit ..erm.. has given me a chance to, you know, try and better myself as a human keep getting better at cricket but you know getting better off the field as well, and it’s something I feel like I’ve done, and I’m continuing to strive to do
Erm and with regards to the a-allegations about the dog it’s-it’s an ongoing investigation at the club, erm.. so I can’t go into detail with that but I want to reiterate what I said in my statement ..erm.. the other day
a-and finally tha- you know, that I deplore all forms of racism and discrimination I’ve been incredibly lucky to erm.. you know.. play around the world… in different backgrounds with you know players-diff-different races, different cultures erm and I’m incredibly fortunate to do so and I think it’s great that .. you know… our game is so diverse and I’m you know proud to be a part of that .
erm.. you know thanks for taking the time to listen.
Is he sincere? Is he believable?
Let’s break it down
The first thing to look for in statements like this is whether the person talking is taking ownership of what happened, or whether they are trying to create distance from it.
Here, Hales uses numerous personal pronouns such as “I”, “me” and “my”. He takes ownership here, he doesn’t try to create distance by using “we” or “you’ or other pronouns to pass the buck.
Often in statements like this we see things get mealy-mouthed with phrases like “I apologise if any offence was caused”. Hales is much more direct to his credit. He apologises for “the offence this no doubt caused” and says what is pictured in the photograph “IS incredibly disrespectful”.
The only small sign of distancing here is that he points out the photo is from 2009, and he made his mistakes in his twenties. Even here he points out the mistakes “will live with me for the rest of my life” and he says the picture “IS disrespectful”. Although there’s a little distancing, he is still admitting the ramification are now and in the future.
When Hales talks about Tupac, it is the most fluid and lyrical he is at any point in the statement. This is him on safer ground, a place where he can talk freely and without danger. It allows us to compare with how he is when stressed.
When he talks about the picture in the paper, the allegations about the dog and diversity in cricket, it’s different. When he talks about these subjects, he stutters a lot and uses “you know” as a crutch while choosing his next words carefully.
Hales is very direct in most aspects of what he talks about. He doesn’t use language to minimise what he has done. For example, if he’d said “I was just honouring my favourite musician” or “I made a few little mistakes in my twenties” he would be trying to downplay the allegations. He doesn’t do this.
The only time this differs is when he talks about improving as a person. He says:
“…has given me a chance to, you know, try and better myself as a human keep getting better at cricket but you know getting better off the field as well, and it’s something I feel like I’ve done, and I’m continuing to strive to do”
This is full of qualifiers that suggest he doesn’t think he’s got there. “Chance to”, “try”. “feel like I’ve done”, “continuing to strive to do” all suggest he thinks he has much more to do in this regard. Trying and striving are very different from doing and achieving.
There is an element of reputation management going on. There is a small leak when he starts to say what his mistakes had “cost me..” then stops and restarts, this time talking about the impact on others, not on himself.
It’s easy to be cynical when you see a video like this. We can assume they’ve been put out to minimise damage and to protect a reputation.
That might be the intention of this video but from the words used we can see that Alex Hales is taking ownership of what he has done. He is aware of the consequences of his actions on others and the level of conduct that is expected of him.
There are a few more things in his words that i’ve spotted, if you see more drop them in the comments below. Also, if there’s anything you want to look at then tell me in the comments or use the contact details on the about tab.