England v New Zealand Tests - Men's
England debutant 'ashamed' of racist, sexist tweets
Ollie Robinson apologises for sexist and racist tweets that surfaced during his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord's
3 June 2021, 07:11 AM AEST
England debutant Ollie Robinson says he's ashamed of a series of historic tweets that surfaced online during his first day of Test cricket at Lord's.
Soon after stumps on day one of the first Test against New Zealand, the 27-year-old fast bowler was close to tears as he apologised for a string of sexist and racist messages that he posted on Twitter from 2012-14 and which surfaced on social media while the game was being played.
"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 he read out firstly to broadcasters and then to other media.
"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."
Robinson said the tweets were sent during a tough period in his life after he'd been fired by English county Yorkshire as a teenager.
"I didn't know they were still there," he told a news conference. "I just want to apologise to everyone. I regret it hugely."
The old tweets were shared online while he was on the field at the Home of Cricket, where he took 2-50 and claimed the wickets of New Zealand batsmen Tom Latham and Ross Taylor.
"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," Robinson said.
"Over the past few years, I have worked hard to turn my life around. I have considerably matured as an adult.
"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."
Robinson said he 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".
Former England captain Nasser Hussain said Robinson's tweets were "not acceptable" and had tarnished an otherwise memorable day in his career, but he also acknowledged that the fast bowler had apologised and recognised his mistake.
"You just can't be doing this," Hussain told Sky Sports. "It's just not good enough, it's just not on.
"But I also think we're probably a bit of a cruel society if we don't realise that an 18-year-old does make mistakes ... and he's got it horribly wrong and he's fronted up.
"It does not make it right in anyway. (The tweets) are horrible, they are not right, and you should never say those things whether you're 18 or 28.
"There is no room for racism, there is no room for online hate, there is no room for being a keyboard warrior just because it's four in the morning and you've had a few beers. It is not acceptable.
"But he's an 18-year-old lad who's made a mistake, and we've all made mistakes. And it's ruined the biggest day as a professional cricketer."
Tom Harrison, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said he did "not have the words to express how disappointed I am that an England men's player has chosen to write tweets of this nature".
"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," Harrison said. "We are better than this."
England's players began the day by sharing a "moment of unity" with their New Zealand counterparts, wearing T-shirts designed to show a collective stance against discrimination of all kinds.
"I don't want something that happened eight years ago 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 said.
Harrison said a "full investigation" was underway and that rules were in place to deal with conduct of this nature.
"The emergence of these comments from Ollie's past reiterates the need for ongoing education and engagement on this issue," Harrison said.