Sussex cricketer Ollie Robinson has apologised for a series of “racist and sexist tweets” posted almost a decade ago, after they emerged in the public domain on the day of his England Test debut.
A statement released by Robinson read:
“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. 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 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.
“Today should be about my efforts on the field and the pride of making my Test debut for England, but my thoughtless behaviour in the past has tarnished this.”
Meanwhile, ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has strongly condemned Robinson’s tweets and says the governing body will launch a full investigation.
In a statement released on the ECB’s website, Harrison 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 colour, 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 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 today to create a moment of unity. Using today’s spotlight to reaffirm our commitment to driving forward 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.”
The nature of these tweets and the timing of their revelation were all the more damning given England and New Zealand began the Test with a moment of unity. Both sets of playing XIs stood together on the field, while squad players and support staff for both teams formed a line around the edge of the boundary. The England squad also wore anti-discrimination t-shirts, each carrying different messages around racism, religious intolerance, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism and agesim.
It marred what was a decent showing from Robinson with the ball. His Test debut has been a long time coming, and he was the pick of an experienced England attack with two for 50 from his 16 overs. He removed opener Tom Latham before trapping Ross Taylor LBW.
He says the feeling he had walking out at 11am was one of a kind. “It’s something I’ve never experienced before.” However those emotions were flipped after he walked off the field and was informed that tweets, most from 2012, had resurfaced.
“It’s tough to take at the moment,” he said. “It’s not really settled in fully. I only found out when I got off the field this evening. It’s something I’ll think about when I get back to the room and collect my thoughts. But it’s a shame that a good day’s ended like this.”
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