UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has weighed in on Ollie Robinson’s suspension by the ECB pending an investigation into racist and sexist tweets in 2012 and 2013, but made a simple factual error while doing so.
Johnson supported cabinet minister Oliver Dowden, who criticised the ECB over their handling of the incident. “Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and wrong,” tweeted the minister for digital culture, media and sport. “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.”
Robinson’s tweets dated from 2012 and 2013, but a spokesperson for Johnson said they were older. “As Oliver 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.”
Had the tweets been posted “more than a decade ago”, Robinson, who is currently 27 years old, would have been yet to turn 18. However, all the tweets flagged on social media were posted after he had turned 18.
Robinson, who took seven wickets on Test debut, has been suspended by the ECB while an investigation into the racist and sexist social media posts is conducted. The right-armer has apologised for his actions.
Johnson has a mixed relationship with the UK’s favourite summer sport. He was spotted attending the final day of the England-India Test series in 2018, caught snoozing in the stands by an eagle-eyed snapper. He also sparked fury among club cricketers in 2020, with his description of the cricket ball as “a natural vector of disease” setting back the return of recreational action during the Covid-19 pandemic.
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