British Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed comments from his culture and sports secretary on Monday that English cricket’s ruling body went “excessive” by suspending paceman Ollie Robinson over historical racist and sexist tweets. Oliver Dowden on Monday urged the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to “think again” over the sanction for the 27-year-old. Robinson — who impressed with ball and bat in his debut Test against New Zealand, which finished in a draw on Sunday — has been suspended from all international cricket pending the outcome of an investigation following tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013.
“Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and mistaken,” Dowden said. “They’re also a decade old and written by a teenager.
“The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised. The ECB has gone excessive by suspending him and will have to think again.”
Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and mistaken.
They’re also a decade old and written by a teenager. The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised. The ECB has gone excessive by suspending him and will have to think again.
– Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) June 7, 2021
Johnson supported Dowden’s position.
“As Oliver Dowden set out, these were comments made more than a decade ago written by someone as a teenager and for which they have got rightly apologised,” said a spokesman for the prime minister.
The paceman led England’s attack with 4-75 in the first innings of the first Test at Lord’s and followed up with 3-26 in the second one innings while also making a useful 42 with the bat.
Robinson, in a commentary issued after play on Wednesday, said he was once “embarrassed” and “ashamed” by the posts.
The posts had emerged on the first day of his Test debut.
“I wish to make it lucid that I am not racist and I am not sexist,” he added.
Former England captain David Gower also thought the penalty was once harsh.
“The ECB will have to say ‘let’s memorize from this’ and make him do the equivalent of community service,” Gower told the BBC on Monday.
“He will have to go in the market among county cricketers and spread the word that social media should not be abused.”
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