Ollie Robinson 'embarrassed' by racist, sexist tweets he sent in 2012 as he makes his England Test debut

June 02, 2021

Ollie Robinson has apologised "unreservedly" for a number of racist and sexist messages he posted on Twitter in 2012, adding that he was "embarrassed" by the social media posts that resurfaced on the day he made his England Test debut.

After taking 2-50 from his 16 overs on day one of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord's, Robinson made the following statement when speaking to Sky Sports post play:

"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. "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."

Robinson's offending tweets were sent when the seam bowler was 18 years old, but they came to light while he was making his England Test debut - on a day in which England and New Zealand players took part in a 'Moment of Unity' before the start of play to show their collective determination to fight any form of discrimination in cricket.

The players and match officials stood in silence on the outfield, facing the pavilion, with the England side in T-shirts that incorporated anti-discrimination messages on their front and back.

Tom Harrison, ECB chief executive officer, also released a statement on the matter, saying: "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.

"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."

On Thursday, Robinson's club Sussex released a statement in which they welcomed the bowler's apology, but warned he will "suffer the consequences of his actions".

It 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. 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."


Sky Sports Cricket pundit Nasser Hussain, who was recently part of a joint campaign between Sky Sports and BBC Sport called 'Hate Won't Win', said he hoped Robinson's mistakes would serve as a stark warning to others.

"It's just a lesson really, that if you are in and around the team first of all treat anything you do on social media as if you are doing a press conference.

"If you are going to wear T-shirts about online hate and online abuse and sexism and racism, that you can't be doing this; it's just not good enough, it's just not on.

"But I also think we are probably a bit of a cruel society if we don't realise that an 18-year-old does make mistakes and he has made mistakes and he's made it horribly wrong and he's fronted up.

"It does not make it right in any way; I've read the tweets, I've seen the tweets, they are horrible, they are not right and you should never say those things whether you are 18 or 28.

"It's a good lesson for anyone out there with social media; when you do this sort of stuff and you put it out whether it's after a few beers at 4am or whenever, it is out there for good. So first of all don't put it out there.

"There is no room for racism, there is no room for online hate, there is no room for being a keyboard warrior. It is not acceptable but he was an 18-year-old who has made mistakes and we've all made mistakes; it has ruined his biggest day as a professional cricketer."

Asked why he thought the tweets had not come to light before, Hussain said: "The bottom line is that they should not have been said and put out there.

"You can blame the ECB but Ollie has fronted up and taken full responsibility; it's not good enough just to delete tweets because it has still been out there and you've still said it and once you've said it, there is no dragging it back in.

"So if anything good can come out of this, it is that some boy or girl who is looking at that thinking 'online hate and abuse is not good enough or acceptable'.

"He has learned the harshest and the biggest lesson; I will always remember my debut fondly - I will always remember that first day but he will always remember this day for something he probably did in a drunken haze as an 18-year-old and that is very sad."

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