While the former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding believes that the ECB made the right call by suspending Ollie Robinson for his racial tweets years ago, he also reckons that the England pacer deserves a second chance and it is important not to be too hard on him.
Robinson, who made his Test debut at Lord's against New Zealand recently was slapped with a suspension by his cricket board for his racist and sexist tweets in 2012 and 2013. "(It was) eight, nine years ago. Can the ECB then find out please, if, beyond that time, Robinson has kept on behaving like that, saying things like that, tweeting things like that?" Holding told Sky Sports News.
"If he has done something like that nine years ago, and since then he has learnt and he has done nothing like that and he has changed his ways in recent years, then I don't think you should come down too hard on him," the West Indies legend added.
Speaking of Robinson's suspension, Holding said, "Yes, suspend him because you want to investigate. You don't allow him to continue playing, like on Thursday, while an investigation is going on at the same time, because if you find out things that are horrible coming out in that investigation. But do it quickly, let's get it over with quickly."
The British government though found Robinson's suspension "over the top" with country's culture and sports secretary Oliver Dowden asking the ECB to reconsider the suspension. The ECB are now also investigating one more England cricketer for racist tweets during his teen years.
Holding said in his case too, it should be investigated if he repeated the same offence again. "I don't know who that player is, so I don't know how many years ago he was 15. Has he done anything since then? Can they find records of him in the last two to three years doing offensive things, saying offensive things or tweeting offensive things?
"...we all make mistakes as young people, but if we can recognise those mistakes and correct them, and change our lives to recognise that was rubbish, and then do the right thing going forward," he said.
"I am someone who likes to give someone second chances or even third chances."
Former England batsman Michael Carberry differed with Dowden while former batsman Mark Ramprakash also did not appreciate Prime Minister Boris Johnson's support to his minister on the issue. "I totally agree with Michael Carberry and what Ramps are saying. You keep on hearing that politics and sport shouldn't mix, but then you keep on hearing the politicians getting involved.
"When I hear Boris Johnson getting involved...I would hope that Boris Johnson would make that one comment and move on, and allow the cricket people to deal with cricketing matters. Yes they may say sportsmen get involved in politics.
"But sportsmen get involved in politics because of humanitarian things, not to do with principle or policy of the politicians or the government. I would hope they would allow the cricket people to carry on and do their own stuff."
(With inputs from PTI)