‘If he has done something like that nine years ago, and since then he has learnt and done nothing like that and he has changed his ways in recent years, then I don’t think you should come down too hard on him.’
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) should not “come down too hard” on Ollie Robinson for old racist and sexist comments he made on Twitter if the fast bowler has since changed his behaviour, former West Indies bowler Michael Holding said.
The ECB suspended Robinson from all international cricket last weekend pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation into his Twitter posts, which were made in 2012-2013.
Robinson apologised “unreservedly” for those tweets, which went viral on social media last week when he made his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s.
“(It was) eight, nine years ago. Can the ECB find out please, if beyond that time, Robinson has kept on behaving like that, saying things like that, tweeting things like that?” Holding told Sky Sports on Tuesday.
“If he has done something like that nine years ago, and since then he has learnt and done nothing like that and he has changed his ways in recent years, then I don’t think you should come down too hard on him.”
Holding said the ECB had taken the right course of action by suspending the 27-year-old to investigate the matter.
“You don’t allow him to continue playing while an investigation is going on at the same time, because if you find out things that are horrible coming out in that investigation,” he said.
“But do it quickly, let’s get it over with quickly.”
The British government though found Robinson’s suspension “over the top” with the country’s culture and sports secretary Oliver Dowden asking the ECB to reconsider the suspension.
The ECB has said it would take “relevant and appropriate action” after questions were raised publicly about historical tweets from several other players.
The board is also investigating a second England player for historical “offensive” social media posts, cricket website Wisden has reported.
“I don’t know who that player is, so I don’t know how many years ago he was 15. Has he done anything since then? Can they find records of him in the last two to three years doing offensive things, saying offensive things or tweeting offensive things?
“…we all make mistakes as young people, but if we can recognise those mistakes and correct them, and change our lives to recognise that was rubbish, and then do the right thing going forward,” he said.
“I am someone who likes to give someone second chances, or even third chances.”
Former England batsman Michael Carberry differed with Dowden while former batsman Mark Ramprakash also did not appreciate Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s support to his minister on the issue.
“I totally agree with Michael Carberry and what Ramps are saying. You keep on hearing that politics and sport shouldn’t mix, but then you keep on hearing the politicians getting involved.
“When I hear Boris Johnson getting involved…I would hope that Boris Johnson would make that one comment and move on, and allow the cricket people to deal with cricketing matters. Yes, they may say sportsmen get involved in politics.
“But sportsmen get involved in politics because of humanitarian things, not to do with principle or policy of the politicians or the government. I would hope they would allow the cricket people to carry on and do their own stuff.”
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