Excitement... pride... despair - extremes of emotion all in one day for Robinson

It started as a day of high excitement for Ollie Robinson. It turned into one of wickets and pride. But it ended as one of despair and public apologies.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 12:30 pm
Ollie Robinson steams in at Lord's on his Test debut / Picture: Getty

Rarely can a sportsman have known such highs and lows within the space of a few hours like those the 27-year-old Sussex bowler experienced on Wednesday.

Robinson began the day by being presented with his England cap after being named in the starting XI for the summer’s first England Test, against New Zealand at Lord’s.

He took just a few overs to claim his first Test wicket – bowling opener Tom Latham off an inside edge – and later became the only bowler of the day to strike more than once, when he trapped Ross Taylor lbw.

Pride before a fall from grace - Ollie Robinson celebrates a wicket against New Zealand / Picture: Getty

Robinson looked like he’d been bowling at this level for years and could be well pleased with his day’s haul of 2-50. But his day was about to take a huge turn for the worse.

A story had emerged showing tweets Robinson had sent nine years ago – when he was 18 – which were of a racist and sexist nature.

Whatever you might think of the timing of the story, and however long ago the tweets were written, they did not show England’s new bowler on the block in a good light.

The ECB, Robinson himself and his county, Sussex, were all quick to issue statements.

Perhaps the most enlightening of the three was the one put out by Robinson’s bosses at the County Ground, stressing that the Ollie Robinson who sent the tweets was a different person to the one they know today.

Sussex said: “There is simply no place for discrimination of any kind in cricket or anywhere else. We’re committed to making cricket in Sussex a game for everyone, so it goes without saying that we were beyond disappointed to read these tweets when they were brought to our attention today. Their content was wholly unacceptable.

“We are pleased that Ollie has apologised unreservedly and taken responsibility for a significant mistake that he made as a teenager. His age does not excuse the content of these tweets in any way and he will now suffer the consequences of his actions.

“In the years since the tweets were posted, Ollie has matured hugely. The Ollie Robinson we know at Sussex is very different from the young man that sent these tweets.

“We know he recognises the severity of the situation and that he is devastated that what should have been a proud day has been overshadowed in this manner.

“We know also that Ollie will learn some very important lessons from this experience. We will be here to offer any support Ollie needs during that process.”

The tone of Sussex’s statement will have given Robinson a lift as he came to terms with what had happened, while in his own statement he made no bones about the severity of his wrongdoing.

Robinson said: “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.

“Today should be about my efforts on the field and the pride of making my Test debut for England, but my thoughtless behaviour in the past has tarnished this.

“Over the past few years, I have worked hard to turn my life around. I have considerably matured as an adult. The work and education I have gained personally from the PCA, my county Sussex and the England Cricket Team have helped me to come to terms and gain a deep understanding of being a responsible professional cricketer.

“I would like to unreservedly apologise to anyone I have offended.”

Now, agonisingly, Robinson must wait to see what effect it has on his England career – so soon after it had begun so promisingly.