James Anderson said on Tuesday England’s cricketers were trying to learn lessons during a “difficult time” after paceman Ollie Robinson was suspended over historical racist and sexist tweets. Robinson’s international career is on hold after last week’s successful Test debut against New Zealand pending an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) investigation into social media messages he posted in 2012 and 2013. The issue is overshadowing the action on the pitch, with the ECB becoming aware of a second unidentified player posting “historic offensive material” on social media and even an intervention from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Veteran paceman Anderson, who is set to become England’s most-capped Test player this week, said players were “trying to learn” from the situation.
“We’ve realised that it’s important to try and get educated around these issues, which we’re continuing to do with the ECB and the PCA (Professional Cricketers’ Association),” he said.
“We’ve all been doing workshops before this series to try and help improve ourselves as people basically, to try and make sure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen,” he added.
Prime Minister Johnson on Monday backed comments from his culture and sports secretary that English cricket’s ruling body had gone “over the top” by suspending the 27-year-old.
Anderson, who will win a record 162nd cap if he is selected for the second Test against New Zealand, which starts at Edgbaston on Thursday, said Robinson had apologised for the tweets.
“Yes, we do make mistakes, everyone does and as people we’ve got to try improve and make sure this sort of stuff doesn’t happen and make sure people are aware it’s not acceptable,” said the Lancashire quick.
“(Robinson) stood up in front of the group and apologised and you can see how sincere he was, and how upset he was,” Anderson revealed.
“I think as a group, we’ve appreciated that he’s a different person now. He’s done a lot of maturing and growing since then and he’s got the full support of the team,” he said.
Anderson, 38, was asked how carefully he had reviewed his own posts, which date back to 2009.
“For me, it’s 10-11 years ago. I’ve certainly changed as a person… I think that’s the difficulty, things do change, you do make mistakes,” he said.
“It’s something that we’re definitely going to have to look at. But again, if we educate people well enough, if we get educated enough, the language in those tweets doesn’t go out in the first place,” Anderson concluded.
The first Test of the two-match series ended in a draw.
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