England fast bowler Ollie Robinson has apologised for a series of racial and sexist tweets he had put out as a teenager back in 2012-14. Robinson, who made his Test debut during the first Test against New Zealand at Lord's, should have been basking in the glory of picking up his maiden wicket for his country.
But his joy was short-lived as Robinson's past came back to haunt him. His tweets surfaced on social media, and Robinson, after stumps on Day 1 in London, was moved to tears while he apologised for his actions from years ago.
"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.
"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 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 just want to apologize to everyone. I regret it hugely."
While Robinson was in the middle of enjoying his first day as an England Test cricketer, the 27-year-old fast bowler's tweets from six to eight years ago resurfaced on social media. On Wednesday, Robinson dismissed New Zealand batsman Tom Latham and Ross Taylor, with his figures reading 2/50 at the end of the opening day. 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 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," Robinson continued. "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."
Following the development, the England and Wales Cricket Board issued a statement saying that it plans to investigate the matter. "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," Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, said.
"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 the conduct of this nature. We will initiate a full investigation as part of our disciplinary process.
"Our England Men's Team, alongside others from the ECB and our partners across the game, worked together today to create a moment of unity. Using today's spotlight to reaffirm our commitment to driving forward an anti-discrimination agenda. Our commitment to that effort remains unwavering, and the emergence of these comments from Ollie's past reiterates the need for ongoing education and engagement on this issue."