Instead of pride, a historic day for Ollie Robinson will be remembered for all the wrong reasons after a series of racist and sexist tweets sent in 2012 and 2013 were unearthed and publicized as he made his debut as a test cricketer at Lord’s.
The tweets, in one of which he wrote that “my new Muslim friend is the bomb” and in another that “many girls need to learn the art of class”, were published between April 2012 and June 2013. In a third he wrote that “women who play video games tend to have more sex than those who do not.”
They will embarrass the ECB and secure an awkward ending to a spectacular occasion when fans returned to Test cricket in England, already one day that started with England players wearing jerseys affirming their commitment to fighting racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. and capacity.
Robinson had been England’s most successful bowler on a difficult day for the team, dominated by New Zealand and their own newcomer, Devon Conway. The 27-year-old took over from starting hitter Tom Latham and veteran Ross Taylor, but his achievements on the field will be overshadowed by the controversy these historic tweets will create, which he only learned about when he left the field in the end of the game.
“On the most important day of my career so far, I am ashamed of the racist and sexist tweets I posted more than eight years ago,” Robinson said in a statement. “I want to make it clear that I am neither racist nor sexist.
“I deeply regret my actions and am ashamed to make such comments. I was thoughtless and irresponsible and regardless of my state of mind at the time, my actions were unforgivable.
“Since that period I have matured as a person and I completely regret tweets. Today should be about my efforts on the field and my pride in making my Test debut, but my thoughtless demeanor in the past has clouded this. In the last few years I have worked hard to change my life. I have matured considerably as an adult. I would like to fully apologize to anyone who has offended, my teammates and the game in general. “
Robinson, who has thrived since joining Sussex in 2015, previously acknowledged that some of his conduct during the period in which he tweeted was unacceptable. Kent had been released in 2012 and two years later he was also released by Yorkshire for what his coach, Jason Gillespie, called “consistently displaying unprofessional behavior.”
The ECB had been trying to position itself as a leader in the fight against discrimination, and in March published a new code of conduct against discrimination and announced the creation of an Independent Commission for Fairness in Cricket.
“I have no words to express how disappointed I am that a player from England chose to write tweets of this nature, however much it may have been,” said ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison.
“Anyone reading those words, particularly a woman or person of color, would remove an image of cricketers and cricketers that is completely unacceptable. We are better than this. We have a position of zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and there are rules that handle conduct of this nature. We will initiate a full investigation as part of our disciplinary process. “
Speaking on Sky, former England captain Nasser Hussain said: “It’s another lesson, if you’re going to wear T-shirts about anti-sexism and racism, you can’t be doing this. It’s just not good enough, it’s just not turned on. But I also think that we are a bit of a cruel society if we don’t realize that an 18-year-old makes mistakes. It does not correct it in any way. I have read the tweets, you should never say that kind of thing if you are 18 or 28 years old. But he is an 18 year old boy who has made mistakes. We’ve all made mistakes and it has ruined your most important day as a professional cricketer. “
Conway, promoted from the No. 3 position he normally holds at club level to open on debut, finished the day undefeated at 136 with New Zealand 246-3. “It was quite a surreal moment for me,” he said of the end of his century. “I couldn’t have dreamed of a better start to my testing career.”
The South African-born hitter moved to New Zealand in 2017 and was quickly introduced to the international setting. “I always dreamed of having a Test chance, but I didn’t expect to score 100 on debut,” he said. “I am very grateful for how it developed.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism