After making an impressive debut in the first Test match against New Zealand, England fast bowler Ollie Robinson is all set the miss the second Test match between England and New Zealand at Edgbaston on June 10 due to controversial tweets he had posted in 2012-13.
The 27-year-old had posted racist and sexist tweeted nine years ago, triggering a massive outrage and shock, after which England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has decided to suspend Robinson from all International cricket pending the outcome of disciplinary investigation.
Robinson tweets resurfaced on social media just a few hours after Robinson made his debut for England on Wednesday, June 2. The day also marked the England team’s participation, including Robinson, in ‘Moment of Unity’ wearing t-shirts with slogans including 'we stand together against racism and 'we stand together against sexism'.
As the first day of play ended, Robinson issued an unconditional apology, saying he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” by the posts.
“On the biggest day of my career so far, I am embarrassed by the racist and sexist tweets that I posted over eight years ago, which have today become public,” Robinson said in a statement. “I want to make it clear that I’m not racist and I’m not sexist, and deeply regret my actions, and I am ashamed of making such remarks. I was thoughtless and irresponsible, and regardless of my state of mind at the time, my actions were inexcusable. Since that period, I have matured as a person and fully regret the tweets," he added.
What did Ollie Robinson tweet?
On Wednesday, just after the start of the first day’s play at Lords, the screenshots of Robinson’s old tweets resurfaced on social media.
As a young teenager, Ollie Robinson posted many controversial tweets which were racist and sexist in nature. In one of the tweets, Robinson made comments suggesting that Muslims are linked to terrorism. He tweeted, “My new Muslim friend is the bomb (sic)”. In another tweet, Robinson made sexists remarks about women. His tweet said: “Remind me not to watch the boxing with a girl again #notaclue #shesborealready cares about tamara ecclestone eyebrows #outsoon@Bex_Dickson (sic)”.
There were other tweets as well making racist jokes on Asian people. “I wonder if Asian people put smileys like this ¦) #racist (sic)”, and “Guy next to me on the train definitely has Ebola (sic)”.
What did ECB say?
ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison expressed his "disappointment" and confirmed that a full investigation would be initiated into the matter.
"I do not have the words to express how disappointed I am that an England Men’s player has chosen to write tweets of this nature, however long ago that might have been,” he said. “We have a zero-tolerance stance to any form of discrimination and there are rules in place that handle the conduct of this nature. We will initiate a full investigation as part of our disciplinary process,” he added.
ECB has suspended Ollie Robinson from International cricket but he is allowed to play for Sussex in the county cricket during the investigation.
How have England players reacted to the incident?
Skipper Joe Root has said that Robinson’s actions were completely “unacceptable” but he has shown “genuine remorse”.
“In regards to the stuff that's happened off the field, it's not acceptable within our game. We all know that. He addressed the dressing room straight away. He obviously spoke to you guys and other media outlets straight away fronted up to it. He showed a lot of remorse from that point onwards. You can see it's very genuine from how he's been around the group and the team,” Root said after the match ended in a draw on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Batting coach Graham Thorpe has said that going ahead, England could start reviewing the social media history of the players before their selection in the national team.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain told Sky Sports that Robin “has learnt a big lesson”.
The debutant picked up a total of seven wickets and scored crucial 42 runs in the first inning against New Zealand.