Ollie Robinson suspension 'over the top', says sports minister Dowden

By Sports Desk June 07, 2021

Ollie Robinson's suspension by England for historic racist and sexist social media posts is "over the top", according to Oliver Dowden.

Sussex bowler Robinson took 7-101 as well as contributing 42 runs in his Test debut as England drew with New Zealand last week.

Shortly after the conclusion of the match at Lord's, it was confirmed by the ECB he had been "suspended from all international cricket pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation following historic tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013".

The messages, posted when Robinson was 18 and 19, were brought to light over the course of his international bow. The player said he was "ashamed".

Although Robinson could yet return to the England fold following the conclusion of the investigation, his suspension has provoked debate.

Dowden, the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, suggested on Monday it was an excessive punishment.

"Ollie Robinson's tweets were offensive and wrong," Dowden wrote on his own Twitter page.

"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."

The England team, including Robinson, had worn anti-discrimination T-shirts carrying messages regarding racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia and ageism ahead of play starting in the first Test last Wednesday.

Robinson said later that day: "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."

Related items

  • McCullum uninterested by England rotation as he suggests Anderson and Broad can play together McCullum uninterested by England rotation as he suggests Anderson and Broad can play together

    Brendon McCullum insists he will pick his best England Test side at every opportunity with no interest in rest and rotation, while he suggested James Anderson and Stuart Broad can still work in tandem.

    Anderson and Broad were surprise omissions for the tour of the West Indies in March, which ended in a 1-0 series defeat for Joe Root before he stepped down as England Test captain.

    Ben Stokes was appointed as the successor to Root, who oversaw just one win in his last 17 Tests, while McCullum was named as red-ball coach, beating Gary Kirsten to the position.

    McCullum's first task sees him face his home country New Zealand, starting at Lord's next Thursday, and he hinted Anderson and Broad – who have 1,117 Test wickets between them – could feature together.

    "Why not? They can work together," he said to BBC Sport of the veteran bowling pair. "They have had successful careers together.

    "There might have been times when the combination might not have been as good as everyone hoped, but there are circumstances around that – there might not have been enough runs, or they were bowling in benign conditions. I'm certainly not against picking them together.

    "I'll probably get in trouble, but I like to pick the best team every time.

    "My job will be to plan as if you'll live forever, but live as if you'll die tomorrow."

    McCullum also sees similarities between himself and new captain Stokes, with the pair both known for their attacking batting displays in five-day cricket.

    "He's going to be a wonderful leader," said McCullum. "He plays the game how I like it to be played and puts bums on seats.

    "He might fly. He might grab the captaincy and go to a whole new level again. We'll just play what we see and feel in that moment – and I'm sure the relationship between Stokesy and I will really flourish."

    There remain concerns over McCullum's experience, given he has only ever coached white-ball franchises Kolkata Knight Riders and Trinbago Knight Riders.

    However, he played 101 Tests for his country and believes he will coach differently to the aggressive batting style he opted for as a player.

    "I'm very different as a coach to how I was as a player," he added.

    "I like to allow guys to get to where they need to, to realise their potential rather than play how I played. I'd never want anyone to do that – that comes with an immense amount of disappointment at times. It's not for everyone, that style.

    "Your job as coach is to understand everyone's game, understand them as people, get to know them and understand their aspirations. You try to piece that all together for one common goal."

  • McCullum aware England appointment a 'big risk' but hopes to transform red-ball cricket McCullum aware England appointment a 'big risk' but hopes to transform red-ball cricket

    Brendon McCullum concedes England took "a big risk" by appointing him as men's Test coach, but hopes his side can reinvigorate interest in red-ball cricket across the world.

    England's new men's managing director Rob Key chose New Zealand great McCullum ahead of the likes of Gary Kirsten and interim coach Paul Collingwood.

    McCullum will be tasked with transforming England's fortunes in five-day cricket after just one win in 17 Tests led to the resignation of captain Joe Root, with Ben Stokes his replacement.

    However, McCullum's experience comes from white-ball cricket, where he has only ever coached T20 franchises; Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders and their Caribbean Premier League affiliate Trinbago Knight Riders.

    While McCullum acknowledged a seeming lack of experience, the 40-year-old remains confident he can make a noticeable impact for England and cricket on a wider scale.

    "I think for me red-ball cricket has always been the pinnacle of the sport, if you look at where the game sits currently, it's probably on a bit of a downward trend and to me the nation that can really change that is England," McCullum told Sky Sports.

    "Because of the tradition of Test cricket here in England and I guess the fan following and the support that it gets in this country.

    "For us to be competitive in Test cricket I think will go a long way in trying to be able to hopefully just shift that a little bit in terms of the perception of red-ball cricket moving forward.

    "I'm confident in the skills that I've got and I'm confident in the group that we have to start things off as well.

    “Obviously it might take a little while to become completely adjusted to the methods and the ways over here and it might take some time for guys to become adjusted to me as well, but I'm looking forward to it.

    "For me it was a big risk taken by everyone but, for me, you don't get anywhere unless you take risks."

    McCullum admitted he will be far from a hands-on coach with the mental aspects of cricket more of interest to him than technique, while he hailed Stokes' leadership.

    "I certainly don't coach technically. I understand the technique obviously, but for me it's more around tactics and man-management and trying to provide the right environment for the team to try and go out there and be the best versions of themselves," he added.

    "So I think with Stokesy as captain we've got a really strong leader, a 'follow me' type of captain and so I think my job will be to try and ensure that we’re consistent with a lot of our messaging.

    "I'll look after the guys inside the environment as well and try and allow them to really grow at a speed which they might not have got to previously, so it's a big challenge."

    McCullum faces home country New Zealand in his first Test in charge of England, which starts next Thursday at Lord's.

  • Langer hits out at Cricket Australia politics, rules over ever coaching England Langer hits out at Cricket Australia politics, rules over ever coaching England

    Justin Langer says he was tired of the "b******t politics" within Cricket Australia while he was head coach of the national team and insisted he would never coach England.

    Langer resigned in February on the back of masterminding Australia's maiden T20 World Cup triumph and a 4-0 Ashes thumping of England on home soil.

    The former opening batter turned down a short-term contract extension, bringing his reign to an end almost four years after replacing Darren Lehmann.

    Ricky Ponting, the late Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden and Mark Waugh were among the Australia greats who hit out at Cricket Australia over their treatment of Langer.

    The 51-year-old has spoken out over the issues he had to contend with, taking aim at interim Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein.

    Langer told a Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA event in Perth: "The first thing he [Freudenstein] said to me was, 'It must make you feel so good that all your mates are supporting you in the media.'

    "I said, 'Yeah it is, acting chairman, but with all due respect, those mates are also the all-time greats of Australian cricket. They are the fabric of Australian cricket. They are Australian cricket. They also work all around the world in cricket. So yeah, I'm glad my mates are looking after me. Imagine if you had have'.

    "Ironically, the last six months of my coaching career were the most enjoyable period of 12 years of coaching. Not only did we win everything, but I had energy, and I had focus, and I was happy – besides the b******t politics."

    Langer added: "It's no wonder you get tired. It's no wonder your health suffers; your mental, your physical health. You're trying to please everybody.

    "The great lesson I learned was…I cleared my desk, and all of a sudden instead of having everything on my table, I had two things on my desk. One was winning and the second thing was my people.

    "If you know people have got your back, you can achieve miracles. If they haven't, it's a very lonely place. Leadership can be very, very lonely. But it's not lonely when you know people have got your back."

    Langer was linked with England before Brendon McCullum and Matthew Mott were appointed as Test and white-ball head coaches respectively.

    Asked whether he would have taken a job with Australia's fierce rivals, Langer replied while shaking his head: "I've never spoken to English cricket. The thought of coaching England ...mate!"

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.