Ollie Robinson taking ‘short break’ from cricket after social media furore
Sussex say seamer unavailable for first two T20 Blast fixtures
Robinson is not a centrally-contracted England player and the ECB clarified at the time of his suspension that he was available for selection at county level if Sussex opted to pick him, but the club released a statement on Thursday confirming that he would not be involved at the start of the Blast.
“After a difficult week, Ollie has decided to take a short break from the game to spend time with his young family,” the statement said. “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.”
The statement went on to describe Robinson’s tweets as “completely unacceptable”, adding that “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,” the statement continued. “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.”
The ECB released a statement on Tuesday evening after further unsavoury tweets emerged from England players, including members of the current Test squad, saying that it would “discuss how we deal with issues over historical social media material in a timely and appropriate manner”.
England and New Zealand took part in a ‘moment of unity’ on the first morning of the ongoing Edgbaston Test, with England’s players again wearing anti-discrimination t-shirts bearing the message: ‘Cricket is a game for everyone’.
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98