American Cricket Federation CEO Jamie Harrison has released this statement regarding recent revelations associated with the surveillance of cricket-related sites in New York City:
“In a new book, ‘Enemies Within,’ Associated Press reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman detail the New York Police Department’s secret surveillance program in a series of articles that won them the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. In it, they reveal that the NYPD have maintained lists of the city’s cricket grounds, in addition to public locations where cricket is watched, as part of a larger surveillance program.
“While the American Cricket Federation applauds and supports all reasonable efforts to protect our citizens, we strongly reject this particularly unfair and unsupported association of the world’s second most-popular sport with terrorism. On the contrary, cricket has historically been called “the gentleman’s game,” and even strives to self-impose a higher standard of personal conduct upon its participants by its appeal to “the spirit of cricket.” Its high ideals have uplifted many who lead otherwise challenging lives, as in the well-documented story of the Compton Cricket Club.
“It should also be noted that cricket is unique in that it routinely brings together players of various birth nations, religions and languages on the same fields, in friendly competition. Rather than being a harbinger of potential acts of violence, cricket is more correctly an instrument of cultural engagement and mutual respect.
“By what other vehicle could India and Pakistan regularly come together to share a mutual passion? With cricket, it is so.
“Therefore, the ACF considers this unfair linkage of our beautiful sport with violence to be a misstep on the part of the NYPD. It is our hope that its growing familiarity with cricketers, such as through its own very successful NYPD Cricket League, will one day allow it to dispense with such uninformed characterizations.”