England fast bowler Ollie Robinson—in the eye of a storm after offensive tweets he posted as a teenager emerged recently—will not be a part of the Sussex Sharks squad for the team’s opening two Vitality Blast fixtures against Gloucestershire and Hampshire Hawks on Friday and Saturday.
English county Sussex announced on Thursday that the cricketer—currently suspended by the ECB pending investigation into his tweets—had “decided to take a short break from the game to spend time with his young family after a difficult week”.
While Robinson is not a centrally contracted player for England, ECB had said that the cricketer could play for his county side should he wish to.
The club, in its statement, stated that it would welcome Robinson back whenever he was ready to return.
“Sussex Cricket fully supports Ollie in his decision. When he is ready to return, Ollie will be welcomed back to the club, where discussions with the remainder of the squad over the last week have made clear that he retains the support of all his Sussex teammates. We remain in close contact with Ollie from a welfare perspective and will issue further updates on his availability at the relevant times,” the statement added.
Robinson made his Test debut for England at Lord’s against New Zealand when his offensive tweets emerged. The 27-year-old pacer ended the Test with seven wickets and scored 42 runs in the only innings he batted.
The tweets, which he posted when he was 18 and 19, included comments that suggested that Muslims were linked to terrorism and also included other demeaning remarks about Asians.
‘Ollie a different man’
Even as Robinson apologised for things he said as a teenager, he was suspended by ECB. The case has raised questions about institutional racism confronting cricket in England and about a statute of limitations for comments made in the past on social media.
Sussex went on to add that they will not be imposing any penalties on the cricketer.
“Another of Sussex Cricket’s priorities is making cricket a game for everyone in our community. Ollie’s tweets were completely unacceptable, and their content is totally at odds with our stated ambition,” read the Sussex statement, which went on to add, “Ollie is a very different man from the one that wrote those tweets and has clearly learned much in the intervening years. He has made clear the shame, embarrassment, and remorse he feels for the discriminatory comments he made. As a result of his actions, Ollie has had the opportunity to represent his country suspended, is at the centre of intense public and media scrutiny and faces the possibility of further disciplinary action from the ECB.
“Sussex Cricket will not be adding to these significant penalties. The club will turn its attention to supporting Ollie in his commitment to continue to educate himself in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion. Ollie has more to learn in this area. We all do. We all have a responsibility to improve and to make cricket a game for everybody.”
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England's Ollie Robinson was suspended after racist and sexist tweets posted by the paceman in 2012 and 2013 emerged during the first Test at Lord's.
Since Robinson's posts re-emerged, the social media feeds of a number of internationals have been scrutinised, with an unnamed player found to have sent offensive tweets while under the age of 16.
The England and Wales Cricket Board suspended the 27-year-old from international cricket pending an investigation.