Boris Johnson criticises suspension of England paceman Robinson over racist tweets

Boris Johnson criticises suspension of England paceman Robinson over racist tweets

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed comments from his culture and sports secretary on Monday that English cricket’s ruling body went “over the top” by suspending Ollie Robinson, but just hours later it emerged a second England player had posted “historic offensive material” on social media.

Oliver Dowden on Monday urged the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to “think again” over the sanction for the 27-year-old paceman’s racist and sexist tweets.

Yet before the day was out, the ECB were forced to probe another incident involving an unnamed player’s past online comments. Wisden.com discovered the tweet, publishing its contents but concealing the identity of the England cricketer, who it said was under the age of 16 at the time. “It has been brought to our attention that an England player has posted historic offensive material on their social media account,” an ECB statement said. “We are looking into it and will make a further comment in due course.”

Robinson –– who impressed with ball and bat in his debut Test against New Zealand, which finished in a draw on Sunday — has been suspended from all international cricket pending the outcome of an investigation following tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013.

“Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and wrong,” Dowden said. “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.” Johnson supported Dowden’s position. “As Oliver Dowden set out, these were comments made more than a decade ago written by someone as a teenager and for which they’ve rightly apologised,” said a spokesman for the prime minister. Robinson led England’s attack with 4-75 in the first innings of the first Test at Lord’s and followed up with 3-26 in the second innings while also making a useful 42 with the bat. Robinson, in a statement issued after play on Wednesday, said he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” by the posts. The posts had emerged on the first day of his Test debut. “I want to make it clear that I’m not racist and I’m not sexist,” he added.

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