Ollie Robinson, who is making his Test debut today, has apologised for “racist and sexist” tweets he posted in 2012, which resurfaced during the course of the day’s play.
In one, he said, “My new Muslim friend is the bomb”. In another, he said: “I wonder if Asian people put smileys like this ¦) #racist”. Screenshots of the tweets are available below, though both are yet to be deleted at the time of writing.
Robinson was significantly criticised on social media for the tweets. “I know it was a long time ago but we cannot make excuses for racism,” read one reply.
— gayle gouzal (@gooturducken) June 2, 2021
Robinson was 18 years old at the time of the tweets, and was yet to sign his first professional contract. In a statement, 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 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.”
In 2014, Robinson was released by Yorkshire for “unprofessional actions”, but revived his career at Sussex, dominating county cricket and making his way up the England pecking order before making his Test debut against New Zealand. He claimed two wickets to fall on day one.
Before play this morning, Robinson was part of a ‘Moment of Unity’, in which England’s players wore shirts showing anti-discrimination messages. Craig Overton, one of his competitors for an England Test spot in this game, discussed an alleged racism incident dating from 2015 with Wisden.com ahead of this series.
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