England bowler Ollie Robinson has apologised after a series of historic racist and sexist posts emerged from his Twitter account on the day of his Test debut.
The 27-year-old took 2-50 on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s, but his performance was marred as offensive messages he posted in 2012 and 2013 came to light.
Robinson 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.
“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.”
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has strongly condemned the tweets, some of which were posted when Robinson was 19, and promised a full investigation.
Harrison said: “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.
“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.”
Not only did the tweets emerge on the day of Robinson’s Test debut, they also came to light on the same day as England and New Zealand shared a ‘Moment of Unity’, designed as a stand against racism, religious intolerance, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism and ageism.
Harrison added: “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.”