Former Australian player Ritchie apologises for racist comments during Gabba Test luncheon
Former Australia Test batsman Greg Ritchie has publicly apologised over the racism drama sparked by his comments at a luncheon during the Gabba Test last week.
Ritchie used the derogatory term 'kaffir' in an anecdote involving former South African batsman Kepler Wessels when they played together for Queensland against the menacing West Indies in 1980.
The ex-player also made offensive remarks in jokes about Islam and Pakistan in his address as a guest speaker at the Gabba Members Test lunch on Friday, but having originally stood by his comments, Ritchie on Wednesday apologised in a statement.
"I have spoken at sporting functions for nearly 30 years. I have never intended offending anyone in those speeches, nor have I knowingly offended anyone," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Ritchie, as saying in the statement.
"If I offended anyone in my speeches at the Brisbane Convention Centre last week, or at my two speeches at the Gabba and the two subsequent very short phone calls with journalists, I am extremely sorry," he added.
Cricket Australia admonished Ritchie once informed of the comments and indicated he would not be welcome as a guest speaker at any cricket venue for the rest of the summer.