England bowler Ollie Robinson apologises for historical racist and sexist tweets

England seamer Ollie Robinson says he is “embarrassed” and “ashamed” by historical racist and sexist tweets he sent after they surfaced on the day he made his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s.

Robinson was the pick of the England bowlers with two for 50 on the opening day of the first Test of the English summer but his performance was overshadowed when tweets he made in 2012 and 2013 came to light.

It came on the same day as England and New Zealand shared a ‘Moment of Unity’ as they took a stand against racism, religious intolerance, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism and ageism.

Robinson, 27, said in a statement: “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.

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“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.”

England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tom Harrison condemned Robinson’s historical tweets and insisted an investigation would be opened as part of a disciplinary process.

“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,” he said in a statement.

Ollie Robinson celebrates a wicket
Ollie Robinson took two wickets on his Test debut (Adam Davy/PA)

“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.

“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.”

Robinson’s county Sussex offered their support to the bowler while criticising the tweets he sent when he was a teenager.

A club statement read: “There is simply no place for discrimination of any kind in cricket or anywhere else. We’re committed to making cricket in Sussex a game for everyone, so it goes without saying that we were beyond disappointed to read these tweets when they were brought to our attention today. Their content was wholly unacceptable.

“We are pleased that Ollie has apologised unreservedly and taken responsibility for a significant mistake that he made as a teenager. His age does not excuse the content of these tweets in any way and he will now suffer the consequences of his actions.

“In the years since the tweets were posted, Ollie has matured hugely. The Ollie Robinson we know at Sussex is very different from the young man that sent these tweets.

“We know he recognises the severity of the situation and that he is devastated that what should have been a proud day has been overshadowed in this manner. We know also that Ollie will learn some very important lessons from this experience. We will be here to offer any support Ollie needs during that process.”