London [UK], June 3 (ANI): England debutant Ollie Robinson has "unreservedly apologise" for the "racist and sexist" tweets he posted over eight years ago as a teenager.
Robinson, who took two wickets on the opening day of the first Test against New Zealand, admitted that he is "ashamed" of making the racist remarks as his tweets from 2012-2013 resurfaced on social media.
"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," the 27-year-old said in a statement released by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
"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.I would like to unreservedly apologise to anyone I have offended, my teammates and the game as a whole in what has been a day of action and awareness in combatting discrimination from our sport," he added.
Interestingly, ahead of the first Test, both England and New Zealand joined in a ‘moment of unity’ showing a collective stance against discrimination.
"I don’t want something that happened eight years ago to diminish the efforts of my teammates and the ECB as they continue to build meaningful action with their comprehensive initiatives and efforts, which I fully endorse and support," said Robinson.
"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. I am sorry, and I have certainly learned my lesson today," he added.
ECB chief executive officer Tom Harrison reiterated that the board has a "zero-tolerance" stance to any form of discrimination and said they will initiate a full investigation as part of their 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," said 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. "We have a zero-tolerance stance to any form of discrimination and there are rules in place that handle conduct of this nature. We will initiate a full investigation as part of our disciplinary process," he added.
"Our England Men’s Team, alongside others from the ECB and our partners across the game, worked together today to create a moment of unity. Using today’s spotlight to reaffirm our commitment to driving forward an anti-discrimination agenda. Our commitment to that effort remains unwavering, and the emergence of these comments from Ollie’s past reiterates the need for ongoing education and engagement on this issue," Harrison concluded.
Meanwhile, riding on the century of debutant Devon Conway, New Zealand marched to a strong position against England on Day One of the ongoing first Test here at the Lord’s Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
At stumps, New Zealand finished with the score of 246/3 with Conway and Henry Nicholls still at the crease on 136 and 46 respectively. Both batsmen have extended their fourth-wicket partnership to 132 runs. (ANI)