Ollie Robinson’s offensive tweets prove that English cricket still has a lot to learn | Locust

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The blew clouds over Lord in the middle of the afternoon, as Ollie Robinson was immersed in his second spell. He had played well, won his first try-out wicket that morning when he brought in Tom Latham, and was working on his second, the great Ross Taylor, whom he quickly fired before wicket leg. Everything seemed so sweet but far from the middle it was already turning sour. There was no way for Robinson to know it at the time, but around the same time, screenshots started circulating on social media showing a series of offensive “jokes” that Robinson said. had tweeted between 2012 and 2014, some racist, others sexist, all atrocious.

Soon the discussion was not about how Robinson was bowling now, but about the silly comments he made nine years ago, when he was in his late teens. Watching him play the rest of the day, it was possible to feel both sympathy and contempt for him. The remarks were grotesque but, given that the fallout overshadowed the best day of his young career, he paid the price for making them. He apologized for a long time after the stumps, said he was embarrassed and ashamed of the remarks, that he regretted having made them, but that “I am not racist and I am not sexist”.

Of course, it’s not just tweets. Hours earlier Robinson and the rest of the England squad had lined up near the boundary in front of the pavilion at the start of the game. They were dressed in black T-shirts with “Cricket is a game for everyone ”written on the front and one of seven different slogans on the back,“ We ​​stand in solidarity against… racism, religious intolerance, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, ageism ” . It was billed as a “moment of unity” and emerged as a response to the criticism they received for the speed at which they decided to forgo kneeling after the end of their series of tests against them. West Indies last year.

“We know the start of last summer brought to light ugly truths in society and in our sport,” said Joe Root this week, as he explained the thinking behind it. Now, at the start of this summer, a young social media sports media student had unearthed a few more while digging through Robinson’s Twitter feed. His tweets included “jokes” about Muslims (including one with the hashtag #racist attached). By the time he sent them he was on the books for Yorkshire, where he played alongside Azeem Rafiq, who has repeatedly denounced the racism he suffered at the club. We are still waiting here for the conclusions of the “independent inquiry” into what happened. Rafiq said he had already lost confidence in the process.

Racist tweets from Ollie Robinson’s Twitter account. Photography: Twitter

Robinson explained how immature he was at the time and repeated in his apology that “since that time I have matured as a person.”

Yorkshire sacked him in the summer of 2014 due to his unprofessional attitude. “We played a second game at Liverpool,” Robinson said in a recent interview with the BBC.

“Right away I got in the car to go to Kent, a five or six hour drive away. I stayed there one night, saw my mates the next day, then left Kent at 1am to go to practice at 9am. It was an unbearable lifestyle that I was trying to live. At first they thought I was a really bad timekeeper but as time went on they realized what I was doing. Looks like he was a kid who still had a lot to do. This does not excuse what he wrote but helps, we hope, to explain it.

It comes the day after Robinson’s rival for the team’s last fast bowling spot this week, Craig Overton, opened up about the accusation that he racially abused Ashar Zaidi in a match between Somerset and Sussex in 2015. This match’s referee, Alex Wharf, reported that Overton had told Zaidi to “go back to his fucking country”. Non-attacking side batsman Michael Yardy also heard the remark. Overton was suspended for two matches for using “obscene, offensive or insulting language” but denied making the comment. And in an interview with Taha Hashim on wisden.com this week, he again said “I don’t think I said it”.

“I don’t think I’m that kind of character. We had Azhar Ali in our locker room and I’m the first one up to talk to him in the locker room and chat with him. I’m not that kind of person, ”Overton said. “We discuss racism every year and I make sure to learn as much as possible because we can all learn more about what happened in the past and what we can do in the future.” Judging him by his words in this interview alone, it seems like he still has a bit of learning to do.

Considering that the culture of the game in this country is one where two of our brightest young players have placed themselves in these positions, maybe the rest of us are as well.



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