England all-rounder Ben Stokes on Tuesday slammed The Sun, an English daily, for a report on the cricketer's "secret family tragedy". The newspaper's report claims that his mother's two children were killed by her ex in 1988, a few year's before the cricketer's birth.
"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," the cricketer's statement read.
The all-rounder called the publication "heartless and immoral" for their reportage and stated that their reporter went down to New Zealand to question his parents about this "incredibly upsetting topic."
"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 said.
He said his family has worked hard to deal with the private trauma and to keep the "deeply personal and traumatic events" private.
"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," the statement added.
Stokes said that it is not acceptable to use his name as a public figure to dismantle the privacy of his family.
"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 its 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," Stokes said.
"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," the statement adds.
All-rounder Stokes produced heroics at the World Cup and then lit up the Ashes with a mesmerising 135 not out in England's one wicket win in Leeds.
England's man of the series Stokes was the outstanding performer, hitting two centuries, including a heroic match-winning ton at Headingley.