England assessing next steps as offensive tweets from unnamed player emerge after Ollie Robinson suspension

·2-min read
 (Getty Images for ECB)
(Getty Images for ECB)

England are assessing how to manage the emergence of offensive tweets posted by an unnamed player when he was just 15.

The team has been caught up in a social media storm since last Wednesday when, on the first day of his Test career, historic racist and sexist tweets from Ollie Robinson emerged.

Robinson, who apologised privately to his team-mates and publicly, made a strong debut against New Zealand at Lord’s, taking seven wickets and scoring 42, but has since been stood down pending an ECB investigation.

His posts were condemned by captain Joe Root and coach Chris Silverwood, who urged the need for greater support.

Robinson did, however, receive peculiar support from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Both men claimed the ECB have been over the top in their punishment, even though no formal sanction will be handed down until after the investigation into Robinson, which will seek to assess whether he breached contract in 2012, when the tweets were sent, or now.

Robinson cannot play for England until further notice, but is available to play for Sussex in the Vitality Blast this week, although his county may decide to keep him out of the line of fire.

On Monday, it emerged that a second “current England men’s player” had posted offensive tweets some years ago, although wisden.com — who published the tweets — chose not to name the sender, because he was under the age of 16 when they were sent. Robinson, by contrast, was a young adult when he posted his.

This leaves the ECB, who are keen for a zero-tolerance policy on such matters, in a difficult situation, as the player was a minor at the time. They are assessing what the next step is.

An ECB spokesperson on Monday told Wisden: “It has been brought to our attention that an England player has posted historic offensive material on their social media account. We are looking into it and will make a further comment in due course.”

England are likely to make two changes to their side for Thursday’s Second Test at Edgbaston.

Robinson needs replacing, with Jack Leach the favourite ahead of Craig Overton, while Olly Stone is likely to come in for Mark Wood.

Senior bowler Jimmy Anderson said: “It’s been a difficult time. As players, we are trying to learn from this really. It’s important to get educated around these issues, which we were already doing.”

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