Country stands behind Stokes over row with The Sun – ECB

first_imgENGLAND cricketer Ben Stokes has the support of “the whole sport and the country” after criticising The Sun over a story it ran about his family, a leading cricket chief says.Tom Harrison, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), added he was “disgusted and appalled” by the newspaper’s actions.Stokes has called yesterday’s front-page story “utterly disgusting”.But The Sun has defended its journalism.It pointed out it had received the cooperation of a family member and said the events described were “a matter of public record” and “the subject of extensive front-page publicity in New Zealand at the time”.The story prompted a statement from Stokes, the England and Durham all-rounder. The 28-year-old said it was the “lowest form of journalism” which dealt with “deeply personal and traumatic events” that affected his New Zealand-based family more than 30 years ago.Stokes was born in New Zealand and moved to Cumbria with his family aged 12.He won the Cricket World Cup with England this summer then made an unlikely 135 not out in the third Ashes Test against Australia at Headingley last month to keep England in contention in the series.His comments on the story drew support from various figures in the sport and public life, and team-mates including England captain Joe Root.“We, like the wider sporting world, are disgusted and appalled at the actions taken in revealing the tragic events from Ben’s past,” Harrison said in the ECB’s statement.“We are saddened that an intrusion of this magnitude was deemed necessary in order to sell newspapers or secure clicks. Ben’s exploits at Lord’s and Headingley cemented his place in cricket history this summer – we are sure the whole sport, and the country, stand behind him in support.”Ben Stokes’ statement in fullToday the Sun has seen fit to publish extremely painful, sensitive and personal details concerning events in the private lives of my family, going back more than 31 years.It is hard to find words that adequately describe such low and despicable behaviour, disguised as journalism. I cannot conceive of anything more immoral, heartless or contemptuous to the feelings and circumstances of my family.For more than three decades, my family has worked hard to deal with the private trauma inevitably associated with these events and has taken great care to keep private what were deeply personal and traumatic events.On Saturday the Sun sent a ‘reporter’ to my parents’ home in New Zealand to question them, out of the blue, on this incredibly upsetting topic. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Sun thinks it is acceptable to sensationalise our personal tragedy for their front page.To use my name as an excuse to shatter the privacy and private lives of – in particular – my parents, is utterly disgusting. I am aware that my public profile brings with it consequences for me that I accept entirely.But I will not allow my public profile to be used as an excuse to invade the rights of my parents, my wife, my children or other family members. They are entitled to a private life of their own.The decision to publish these details has grave and lifelong consequences for my mum in particular.This is the lowest form of journalism, focussed only on chasing sales with absolutely no regard for the devastation caused to lives as a consequence. It is totally out of order.The article also contains serious inaccuracies which have compounded the damage caused. We need to take a serious look at how we allow our press to behave.WHAT DID THE SUN SAY?A spokesperson for the Sun said: “The Sun has the utmost sympathy for Ben Stokes and his mother but it is only right to point out the story was told with the cooperation of a family member who supplied details, provided photographs and posed for pictures.“The tragedy is also a matter of public record and was the subject of extensive front page publicity in New Zealand at the time.“The Sun has huge admiration for Ben Stokes and we were delighted to celebrate his sporting heroics this summer. He was contacted prior to publication and at no stage did he or his representatives ask us not to publish the story.” (BBC Sport)last_img

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