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England v New Zealand

Cabinet minister says ECB has ‘gone over the top’ by suspending Ollie Robinson

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Oliver Dowden, a Conservative MP and the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, has criticised the ECB for suspending Ollie Robinson while an investigation into racist and sexist tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013 is conducted.

The historic tweets emerged during the first day of the right-arm seamer’s Test debut. Robinson apologised at the end of day one, with ECB chief executive Tom Harrison releasing a statement promising a “full investigation” into the social media activity.

Robinson claimed seven wickets in the drawn game, with the ECB announcing after the game’s conclusion that Robinson would be suspended while an investigation was carried out, confirming that he would miss the second Test against New Zealand.

Dowden, who has been MP for Hertsmere since 2015, tweeted that, while Robinson’s tweets were “wrong”, the ECB had “gone over the top” in suspending him.

“Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and wrong,” he tweeted.

“They are also a decade old and written by a teenager. The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised. The ECB has gone over the top by suspending him and should think again.”

Dowden was criticised by some for not making clear that Robinson’s suspension was to allow an investigation to be carried out, rather than a punishment in and of itself. The Independent’s Vithushan Ehantharajah tweeted, in response to Dowden: “*suspended while an investigation is going on. It’s counter-productive to the investigation and – arguably more importantly – Ollie Robinson for stuff to be going on while he’s a) playing a Test or b) twiddling his thumbs around the Test squad.”

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