Ollie Robinson’s brief England career could be over as he faces an investigation into racist and sexist tweets he posted in the past.
Robinson made his Test debut last week in England’s draw with New Zealand at Lord’s.
He took 7 for 101 in the match but has now left the England camp with his international future in disarray.
The 27-year-old has been suspended after posts from 2012 and 2013 resurfaced during his debut.
The pace bowler has apologised and has said he is ‘embarrassed and ashamed’ and is now the centre of a full ECB review.
What did Ollie Robinson say in his tweet?
Robinson posted a series of tweets as a teenager, which were revealed on his first day as an England player on Wednesday, June 2.
In 2012, Robinson tweeted using the n-word and another post said: “My new muslim friend is the bomb.”
There were also sexist comments about ‘females who play video games actually tend to have more sex’.
The rediscovery of the tweets marred his England debut and have left a dark shadow over Joe Root’s side.
The historical tweets could not have been more embarrassing for England because they were discovered on a day when before play the players had a ‘moment of unity’.
This involved wearing T-shirts standing against all forms of discrimination, including racism and sexism.
What has been said?
Robinson faces disciplinary action after being forced to apologise.
He said he did not realise the posts were still on his timeline, but insisted afterwards that he is not ‘racist or sexist’.
He said: “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.
“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 team-mates 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 team-mates 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.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has said the ECB went ‘over the top’ in suspending Robinson and has asked them to ‘think again’.
Dowden said the tweets were ‘offensive and wrong’ but ‘also a decade old and written by a teenager’.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has backed Dowden’s comments.
A spokesperson for Mr Johnson said: “The PM is supportive of Oliver Dowden’s comments. As Dowden set out, these were comments made more than a decade ago written by someone as a teenager and for which they’ve rightly apologised.”
Robinson, who was sacked by Yorkshire in 2014 for ‘unprofessional conduct’, left the England camp on Sunday and will not play in the Second Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston on Thursday, June 19.
England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison warned that there is a ‘zero tolerance’ policy of such behaviour.
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.”
England captain Root insisted Robinson has learned a ‘very hard lesson’ and promised England will continue to try to make cricket as inclusive as possible.
He said: “Ollie has learned a very hard lesson. He’s fronted up to the outside world and fronted up to us as a dressing-room. He has a lot of remorse that you can tell is genuine and dealt with a huge array of emotions.
“As a squad, we have to keep looking to be better and make the game as inclusive and diverse as possible.
“This team is committed to doing that. We’re not saying we’re perfect but there are areas we want to learn about and hopefully we can make a real difference.
“On the field, Ollie had an exceptional debut. He’s contributed well with the bat, his performances with the ball have been excellent. He showed high levels of skill and definitely has the game that can be successful in Test cricket.
“But the stuff that happened off the field is not acceptable within our game. We have to try to better the environment and make everyone feel comfortable to play a wonderful sport.
“I couldn’t believe the tweets but the most important thing is Ollie is part of this dressing-room and we had to support him. We had to give him an opportunity to learn and understand he has to do better.”