England cricketer Ollie Robinson has been suspended from all international cricket pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation following historical racist and Islamophobic tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013.
Robinson, 27, will not be available for selection for the second Test against New Zealand starting at Edgbaston on Thursday. He will now leave the England camp immediately and return to his county, Sussex.
His tweets when he was 18 included several sexist, Islamophobic and racist comments such as:
“My new Muslim friend is the bomb.”
“Real Nig** don’t let the microwave hit 0.00”
“Guy next to me on the train. definitely has Ebola.”
The fast bowler said he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” as he apologised “unreservedly” for the posts which were unearthed on Wednesday as he made his Test debut at Lord’s.
He said: “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.
“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.”
England captain Joe Root described Ollie Robinson’s tweets as “not acceptable” after the bowler was banned from international cricket.
He said: “He has dealt with a huge array of emotions over this last week and he has got to learn some hard lessons. He addressed the dressing room, and media outlets, straight away, he fronted up to it. He showed a lot of remorse from that point onwards.
“For us as a sport, we’ve got to keep looking to be better, educate and learn as much as we can and make the game as inclusive and diverse as possible. This team is committed to doing that and hopefully over time we can make a real difference.
“We’ve got to move forward from this, we’ve got to learn from it and do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
But Tory Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has called the suspension “over the top” and urged the ECB to reconsider its decision.
“Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and wrong,” Dowden said on Twitter. “They are also a decade old and written by a teenager. The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised. The ECB has gone over the top by suspending him and should think again.”