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Ben Stokes attacks English daily for 'utterly disgusting' story about family tragedy

English cricketer Ben Stokes slammed an English daily after it published an 'utterly disgusting' story on his family tragedy, which dates back to 31 years.

India TV Sports Desk India TV Sports Desk
New Delhi Updated on: September 17, 2019 19:25 IST
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English cricketer Ben Stokes slammed an English daily after it published an 'utterly disgusting' story on his family tragedy, which dates back to 31 years.

Ben Stokes had a fantastic summer with the English team. He played a major role in England's first-ever fifty-over World Cup win in July, and in the very next month, a miraculous batting effort from Stokes led the English side to a memorable Ashes victory in Headingley against Australia. He eventually ended up as the second-highest scorer of the series.

And so, Ben Stokes' anger was justified when, despite the multiple remarkable performances from him throughout England's cricketing season, an English daily chose to uncover a personal tragedy related to Stokes and his family on its front page.

On Tuesday morning, The Sun, which is published and read across the United Kingdom, revealed a piece of highly sensitive information about Ben Stokes' family on its front page. It related to a family tragedy, which dates back to 31 years. Ben Stokes said that his family had chosen to not share the tragedy in the public domain.

The English cricketer has since described the story as 'utterly disgusting', 'immoral', 'heartless' and 'contemptuous'.

In a statement posted by Stokes on his personal Twitter profile, the cricketer said that the story also contains 'serious inaccuracies'. 

"Today 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," Stokes' statement began.

"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' house 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 gave 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 the lives as a consequence. It is totally out of order.

"The article also contains serious inaccuracies which has compounded the damage caused. We need to take a serious look at how we allow our press to behave.

"Despite the fact that this has now been made public, I do please ask all concerned to respect my family's privacy and right to home life."

The Sun, however, have defended their action, stating that the story was told 'in cooperation of a family member'.

"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," a spokeswoman from The Sun said.

“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."

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