English cricket to launch social media review after Robinson Twitter storm

·3-min read
England's Ollie Robinson has been suspended over historical racist and sexist tweets

The England and Wales Cricket Board is to launch a "social media review" that could lead to widespread disciplinary action following the fall-out from Ollie Robinson's Twitter posts.

The Sussex seamer was suspended from England duty pending an investigation after historic racist and sexist posts made in 2012 and 2013 re-emerged during his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord's last week.

Since Robinson's posts re-emerged, the social media feeds of a number of internationals have been scrutinised, with an unnamed player found to have sent offensive tweets while under the age of 16.

Meanwhile, the experienced England trio of James Anderson, Jos Buttler and limited overs captain Eoin Morgan have all faced accusations of publishing potentially offensive messages.

The ECB board met Wednesday, when they decided to look into the issue in more detail, with a statement issued Saturday saying: "The board agreed to the executive's recommendation for a social media review to address any historical issues, remind individuals of their personal responsibilities going forward, and help them learn lessons along the way.

"The board was clear that this process would not prevent further disciplinary action in the future, should that be required, under the applicable processes, but it is hoped that the game can emerge from this difficult period stronger and determined to be more inclusive and welcoming to all."

The ECB said the review would be "collaborative", with administrators, players, coaches and the Professional Cricketers' Association, the players' union, all involved.

- 'Sanction' -

Revelations about Robinson's Twitter posts came just hours after both the England and New Zealand teams had lined up before play on the morning of the opening day of the first Test for a 'moment of unity' designed to show their determination to removed discrimination from cricket.

The England side also wore T-shirts carrying the message "Cricket is a game for everyone".

ECB chairman Ian Watmore insisted Saturday the board remained committed to diversity and inclusion.

"As the national governing body, we must steer a path between helping individuals project an inclusive image, educating them on what is expected of them and allowing them the space to express themselves to the public. We must also investigate their actions and sanction them when they fall short," he said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed comments from his culture and sports secretary that the suspension of Robinson was "over the top".

But Saturday's statement from the ECB insisted it retained faith in its disciplinary procedure.

"The board is assured that the right processes are in place to make judgements on suspensions and disciplinary actions under player employment contracts," it said.

The issue has not just been confined to England internationals, with county side Lancashire announcing Friday they had launched an "immediate review and investigation" into allegations of offensive tweets by five of their players.

PCA chief executive Rob Lynch said the last week had been "an important period for all professional cricketers across our sport".

He added: "We are committed to working with our members and the ECB on further education, and there is always more that we can do.

"We will consult with our members and work with the ECB to develop terms of reference for a social media review, which in turn, will lead to better insight and an opportunity to improve."

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