England seamer Robinson says he is ’embarrassed’ and ‘ashamed’ by historical racist and sexist tweets he sent after they surfaced on the day he made his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s.
The bowler made a flying start to life in England’s Test team against New Zealand with two wickets for 50 on the opening day of the first Test of the English summer, but his performance was overshadowed when tweets he made as an 18-year-old in 2012 and 2013 came to light
One of the tweets read: ‘My new muslim friend is the bomb #wheeyyyyy’. Another went: ‘Not going to lie a lot of girls need to learn the art of class.’
Ollie Robinson is in hot water after a number of racist and sexist tweets were unearthed
England wore Anti-Discrimination T-shirts before the start of Wednesday’s first Test match
He also wrote: ‘Females who play video games actually tend to have more sex & be happier with their relationships, than the girls who don’t.’
Robinson, who had worn an anti-discrimination message on black t-shirts alongside his fellow England team-mates on Wednesday, admitted he ‘deeply regrets’ his actions but insisted he is not racist or sexist.
‘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,’ he said in a statement.
‘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.’
Prior to Wednesday’s first tests, England players had worn black t-shirts designed to show their collective stance against discrimination in what was labelled a ‘Moment of Unity’.
The England bowler was making a successful start to his Test career against New Zealand
The ECB also released a statement condemning the comments Robinson had made on social media as a teenager.
ECB chief Tom 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.’
When he was 18, Robinson was sacked by Yorkshire and at the time, coach Jason Gillespie said: ‘When a player consistently displays behaviour that isn’t professional, there has to be a point in time when you say, ‘Look, this isn’t really working, you’re obviously not bothered about playing for the club’.’
In an interview with Sportsmail last week, the new England debutant said: ‘We do expect a lot of our young sportsmen in this country. With cricket and with professional sport, you do miss a lot. You do make a lot of sacrifices that people probably either don’t realise or give much thought to.
‘At that time at Yorkshire, I was young and a bit naive. I was lucky that I got another chance and got to where I am now, but it can be tough for a lot of youngsters. Especially in the era of social media, you can’t put a foot wrong, really.’
Robinson took the wicket of Ross Taylor (lbw) to keep up his momentum at Lord’s
Back in 2015, Craig Overton, who is in the squad for this New Zealand series, allegedly told former Sussex batsman Ashar Zaidi to ‘go back to your own f*****g country’ during a county match.
Umpire Alex Wharf and the batsman at the non-striker’s end, Michael Yardy, both said they heard the comment.
He was charged by the ECB for abusive language ‘that vilifies another on the basis of race or national origin’ and banned for two matches after an accumulation of disciplinary offences. Overton denied making the remark.