Facing suspension pending the outcome of an investigation into his tweets from 2012 and 2013, England's pacer Ollie Robinson has decided to take a short break from cricket. Owing to the suspension due to sexist and racist tweets, Robinson was not included in England's squad for the second Test against New Zealand.
The said tweets came into the forefront on the first day's play of the first Test against New Zealand after which Robinson issued an apology. Robinson will thus not be part of his county, Sussex Sharks, squad for the team’s opening two Vitality Blast fixtures against Gloucestershire and Hampshire Hawks later this week.
Announcing Robinson's decision, the statement from the player's county read:
"After a difficult week, Ollie has decided to take a short break from the game to spend time with his young family.
Player and staff welfare – including mental health and wellbeing - is a priority for the club and, as such, Sussex Cricket fully supports Ollie in his decision. When he is ready to return, Ollie will be welcomed back to the club, where discussions with the remainder of the squad over the last week have made clear that he retains the support of all his Sussex teammates. We remain in close contact with Ollie from a welfare perspective and will issue further updates on his availability at the relevant times.
Another of Sussex Cricket’s priorities is making cricket a game for everyone in our community. Ollie’s tweets were completely unacceptable, and their content is totally at odds with our stated ambition to inspire people from every background in our county to say, ‘I feel part of Sussex Cricket’.
Ollie is a very different man from the one that wrote those tweets and has clearly learned much in the intervening years. He has made clear the shame, embarrassment, and remorse he feels for the discriminatory comments he made. As a result of his actions, Ollie has had the opportunity to represent his country suspended, is at the centre of intense public and media scrutiny and faces the possibility of further disciplinary action from the ECB. Sussex Cricket will not be adding to these significant penalties. The club will turn its attention to supporting Ollie in his commitment to continue to educate himself in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion.
Ollie has more to learn in this area. We all do. We all have a responsibility to improve and to make cricket a game for everybody.
This is why, last year, we created an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Sub-Committee of the Board of Sussex Cricket to devise a plan in this area. Among the initial actions agreed are further training for all our staff, our Board and our Trustees, the introduction of diversity champions for specific protected characteristics, Urban Cricket Plans to maximise engagement with the diverse communities in Sussex’s biggest towns and cities, a commitment to challenge non-inclusive behaviours in our organisation and the introduction of regular consultation with our employees, customers, volunteers, officials and players to make sure we know exactly where we can improve.
Everyone at the club is committed to furthering our understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion through education. This will be an ongoing focus for us and one that will take time. As evident in society as a whole, there are no quick fixes to address these deep-rooted issues. Ollie, as well as everyone else at Sussex Cricket, will be involved in our efforts to make sure we as an organisation build on the work we have already done and continue to get better."