England’s young fast bowler Ollie Robinson has found himself in hot water on his Test debut as his tweets from eight years ago, both sexist and racist in nature resurfaced across social media.
The 27- Year Old England bowler had a brilliant start in his career with 2-50 on the first day of the two-match series, but his performance was overshadowed as his tweet which he had posted as a teenager resurfaced.
The tweets, dating back to 2012 left Robinson in an especially difficult position given both teams had lined up before play for a ‘Moment of Unity ‘ designed to show their opposition to discrimination within cricket.
The tweet which was sent around April 2012 included the use of the ‘N’ word comments suggesting Muslim People were linked with terrorism and derogatory comments about women and people of Asian heritage.
“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 released shortly after stumps on the opening day of the two-Test series against New Zealand. “I want to make it clear that I’m not racist and I’m not sexist.
“I deeply regret my actions, and I am ashamed of making such remarks. I would like to unreservedly apologize to anyone I have offended, my teammates and the game as a whole in what has been a day of action and awareness in combatting discrimination from our sport.”
There was some irony in the timing of the discovery of tweet as England players before the start of the match had unveiled training t-shirts to be worn all summer which bear slogans declaring that ‘cricket is a game for everyone on the front and denouncing racism, sexism and religious intolerance among other things on the back.
“I don’t want something that happened eight years ago to diminish the efforts of my teammates and the ECB as they continue to build meaningful action with their comprehensive initiatives and efforts, which I fully endorse and support,” Robinson continued.
“I will continue to educate myself, look for advice and work with the support network that is available to me to learn more about getting better in this area. I am sorry, and I have certainly learned my lesson today.”
The tweets may also expose the ECB to allegations of a failure to conduct due diligence. Robinson has been close to the England team for some time.
He has toured with the Lions and spent months in the senior team’s bio – bubble in recent times so it may raise eyebrows that nobody at the organization had noticed such comments.
Meanwhile, Tom Harrison, the England and Wales Cricket Board chief, said, “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. Any person reading those words, particularly a woman or person of color, would take away an image of cricket and cricketers that is completely unacceptable. We are better than this.
“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.
Our England Men’s team alongside others from the ECB and our partners across the game, worked together to create a moment of unity. Using today’s spotlight to reaffirm our commitment to driving an anti-discrimination agenda.
Our commitment to that effort remains unwavering, and the emergence of these comments from Ollie’s past reiterates the need for ongoing education and engagement on this issue.