Few hours after making his debut for England, former Yorkshire seamer Ollie Robinson found himself in hot water. He was on the field last Wednesday during day one of the first Test against New Zealand when historical tweets made by him from 2012 and 2013 surfaced on social media.
The right-arm pacer claimed 2-50 on the opening day at Lord’s before he arrived for the press conference to read out a prepared statement after end of the day's play.
“I am embarrassed by the racist and sexist tweets that I posted over eight years ago, which have today become public. I am sorry, and I have certainly learned my lesson today,” he read.
“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,” Robinson said.
Earlier on the same day, England players walked on to the pitch to share a 'moment of unity' with New Zealand, by wearing T-shirts designed to show a collective stance against discrimination of all kinds.
“I don't want something that happened eight years ago to diminish the efforts of my team-mates and the ECB as they continue to build meaningful action with their comprehensive initiatives and efforts, which I fully endorse and support. I will continue to educate myself, look for advice and work with the support network that is available to me to learn more about getting better in this area,” Robinson further added.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) avoided further backlash, by saying it will begin a full investigation as part of the disciplinary process.
"I do not have the words to express how disappointed I am that an England men's player has chosen to write tweets of this nature, however long ago that might have been," ECB chief executive Tom Harrison.
"Any person reading those words, particularly a woman or person of colour, would take away an image of cricket and cricketers that is completely unacceptable. We are better than this."
Despite all the rumblings off the pitch, Robinson made a memorable debut as he claimed 4-75 and 3-26 in both innings and scored crucial 42 runs in the first innings as the match ended in a draw on Sunday.
Robinson, who spent his time as an England reserve last year, had made the most of his chance after replacing injured Jofra Archer for the two-match series. However, his stay with the England squad came to an end soon after the first match as the ECB announced Robinson's from all international cricket, making him ineligible for a playing spot in the second Test. It also instructed the pacer to return to his county Sussex as the outcome of the investigation was pending.
England skipper Joe Root revealed that the fast bowler had apologized to the England dressing room for his actions.
“Ollie had has made a huge mistake. He fronted up to the dressing room and the rest of the world, and he's very remorseful," Root told BBC Sport.
“It's a lesson to everyone in the game. More has to be done, that continued education and learning about how to behave in society and within our sport,” he added.
The controversy could also result in all the England players’ social media being scanned.
“It's clearly something that might need to be looked at so that a day like yesterday doesn't happen,” batting coach Graham Thorpe said after the day 1 at Lord’s.