Britain’s Culture and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden said on Monday the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had gone “beyond that” by suspending Ollie Robinson for racist and sexist tweets he posted in 2012.
England fast bowler Robinson was suspended from international cricket on Sunday pending an investigation into discriminatory tweets he posted as a teenager.
“Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and untrue,” Dowden tweeted.
“They are also ten years old and written by a teenager. The teenager is now a man and has rightfully apologized. The ECB has overstepped the mark in suspending him and should think again.”
Dowden is the UK Government’s Culture, Sport, Media and Digital Secretary. The Conservative Party politician has been MP for Hertsmere since 2015.
The tweets resurfaced last Wednesday, the first day of Robinson’s Test debut at Lord’s, against New Zealand. In a fine debut performance at the cricket mecca, he had taken seven wickets in the game.
At the end of the first day of play, the 27-year-old apologized and said he was going through a difficult time in his life when he posted the racist tweets aged 18.
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“I want to make it clear that I’m not racist and I’m not sexist,” Robinson said.
“I deeply regret my actions, and I am ashamed to make such remarks. I was thoughtless and irresponsible, and regardless of my state of mind at the time, my actions were inexcusable. Since that time, I have matured as a person and fully regret the tweets.”
However, his apology was not enough as the ECB suspended him after the end of the first Test while opening a disciplinary investigation.
Robinson will not be available for the second Test against New Zealand, which starts on Thursday in Edgbaston.
An ECB statement said: “England and Sussex bowler Ollie Robinson has been suspended from all international cricket pending the outcome of a disciplinary inquiry following historic tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013 .
“He will not be available for selection for the second Test against New Zealand starting at Edgbaston on Thursday June 10. Robinson will leave the English camp immediately and return to his county.”
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