ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison expressed disgust over sexist and racist Tweets made by debutant Ollie Robinson 8 years ago and confirmed that the board will launch an investigation into the matter. Post the close of play, Robinson issued an apology condemning his actions.
What was shaping up to be a dream debut instead turned into the worst day of Ollie Robinson’s cricketing career as old Tweets posted by the 27-year-old, which were inherently racist and sexist in nature, resurfaced on social media platforms to disgrace the Sussex man, who on Day 1 of the Lord’s Test was the best performer for England. Tweets that were extremely offensive in nature posted by Robinson eight years ago resurfaced at the stroke of Lunch on Day 1, causing an instant stir.
The ECB waited till stumps to have their say on the matter, but the board’s Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison expressed shock and disgust over the vile nature of the Tweets posted by Robinson and confirmed that an investigation will be launched 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. 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,” Harrison said in an official statement.
“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."
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Robinson himself sent out a whole-hearted apology and took full responsibility for his actions. The 27-year-old described his actions as ‘inexcusable’ and admitted that he was left embarrassed by the Tweets which he posted as a teenager.
“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,” Robinson said in his statement.
“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. Over the past few years, I have worked hard to turn my life around. I have considerably matured as an adult. The work and education I have gained personally from the PCA, my county Sussex and the England Cricket Team have helped me to come to terms and gain a deep understanding of being a responsible professional cricketer.
“I would like to unreservedly apologise 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.
“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.
“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.”