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Ben Stokes lashes out at English tabloid for 'disgusting' and 'extremely painful' article

Photo: AFP

England’s star batsman Ben Stokes, on Tuesday, lashed out on English tabloid, The Sun for publishing a "disgusting" and "extremely painful" article which spoke of a family tragedy.

Stokes took to Twitter to express his disappointment and hurt over the publication’s article and shared that the events following the tragedy took him "more than three decades" to come to terms with and added that there were "serious inaccuracies which has compounded the damage caused".

"The decision to publish these details has grave and lifelong consequences for my mum in particular," Stokes said. 

"To use my name as an excuse to shatter the privacy and private lives of - in particular - my parents is utterly disgusting," he added. 

Stokes went on to say, "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."

Stokes hit headlines this summer for all the right reasons. His stunning part in winning the World Cup against New Zealand in July as well as his undefeated 135 in the third Ashes Test saw him somersault to career high rankings.  

"I am aware that my public profile brings with it consequences for me that I accept entirely," he said. 

"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.

"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," Stokes added. 

Following the 28-year-old's tweet, Test captain Joe Root extended his support to his teammate and asked fans to "please take the time to read this and respect it." 

Furthermore, English and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief executive Tom Harrison too condemned the tabloid's "intrusion". 

"We, like the wider sporting world, are disgusted and appalled at the actions taken in revealing the tragic events from Ben's past," he said. 

"We are saddened that an intrusion of this magnitude was deemed necessary in order to sell newspapers or secure clicks.

"Ben's exploits this summer have cemented his place in cricket's history - we are sure the whole sport, and the country, stands behind him in support," Harrison said. 

Following the backlash that the publication received, The Sun issued a public statement in which it expressed their "utmost sympathy" for the cricket star and his family. 

"It is only right to point out the story was told with the co-operation of a family member who supplied details, provided photographs and posed for pictures," the statement 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.

"He [Stokes] was contacted prior to publication and at no stage did he or his representatives ask us not to publish the story," the statement concluded.