Bigotry in cricket

Old tweets haunt English players

Bigotry in cricket

England fast bowler Ollie Robinson, Action IMages via Reuters

Must what you said a decade ago as a teenager — even if it’s appalling and obnoxious — be forever held against you? A debate on this subject has raged over the last few days after old tweets by England cricketer Ollie Robinson showed that as a teenager, he held views that would show him up as racist, sexist and a religious bigot. Robinson, now 27, was 18 and 19 years old when he made those remarks. The offending tweets seem like a juvenile attempt at humour, but they were extremely distasteful. Robinson’s fine Test debut was overshadowed by controversy and he was forced to issue an apology. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspended him immediately and launched a disciplinary investigation into the matter, and Robinson would miss the second Test against New Zealand.

Since then, old tweets have been dug up that implicate a few other current English cricketers — James Anderson made a homophobic comment in 2010, while Jos Buttler and Eoin Morgan seem to be mocking Indian fans by mimicking their peculiar use of the English language. English media has reported that the ECB is investigating these tweets, too. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson weighed in on the matter, saying that the action against Robinson was ‘over the top’. But it is clear that the ECB had no real choice in the matter — in these days of heightened awareness of bigotry on sports fields, amplified by the athletes’ support of the Black Lives Matter campaign, the authorities have, rightly, adopted a zero tolerance policy against racism, sexism and religious bigotry.

If the ECB’s inquiry shows that Robinson and the others have consistently displayed bigoted behaviour in their lives, then action must be taken against them — otherwise the matter should be closed. Everyone deserves a second chance and, as West Indian cricketer Michael Holding said, even a third chance. People mature, they change their minds, they evolve — if they apologise for and disown something they said years ago, they must be taken at their word. There’s a lesson in this for everyone — if you are an obnoxious bigot, try to enlarge your mind. If you can’t do that, shut yourself up.

Top Stories

India logs 70K Covid cases, lowest since March 31, 3,921 deaths

India logs 70K Covid cases, lowest since March 31, 3,921 deaths

This is the seventh consecutive day when the country has rep...

Ram Temple land purchase: Cong seeks SC-monitored probe; temple trust rejects charges

Ram Temple land purchase: Cong seeks SC-monitored probe; temple trust rejects charges

All purchases and transactions in respect of the land are be...

Revolt in LJP, 5 MPs join hands to oust Chirag Paswan as party leader in Lok Sabha

Revolt in LJP, 5 MPs join hands to oust Chirag Paswan as party leader in Lok Sabha

Sources close to Chirag Paswan blame JD(U) for the split

Dejected, tourists in Himachal return home

Dejected, tourists in Himachal return home

New guidelines to come into force from today

UP journalist who sought protection against liquor mafia dies in road crash

UP journalist who sought protection against liquor mafia dies in road crash

The reporter, Sulabh Srivastava, recently ran a news story a...

Cities

View All