West Indies great Michael Holding supports the suspension of England cricketer Ollie Robinson for racist tweets as a teenager but also believes that the pacer should get a second chance if the investigation proves that he did not repeat his actions beyond that time. Robinson was suspended by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), pending an investigation, after his racist and sexist tweets in 2012 and 2013 emerged on social media on the day he made his Test debut. The 27-year-old found support from his teammates who said they have accepted his apology on the issue.
Holding also offered a sympathetic view on the matter but backed the ECB’s move to suspend him.
“(It was) eight, nine years ago. Can the ECB then find out please, if beyond that time, Robinson has kept on behaving like that, saying things like that, tweeting things like that?” Holding told Sky Sports News.
“If he has done something like that nine years ago, and since then he has learnt and he has done nothing like that and he has changed his ways in recent years, then I don’t think you should come down too hard on him,” the West Indies legend said.
Holding, who has been vocal against racism since the death of African American Geroge Floyd at the hands of a white police officer last year, said suspending Robinson was the right call.
“Yes, suspend him because you want to investigate. You don’t allow him to continue playing, like on Thursday, while an investigation is going on at the same time, because if you find out things that are horrible coming out in that investigation. “But do it quickly, let’s get it over with quickly.”
The British government found Robinson’s suspension “over the top” with country’s culture and sports secretary Oliver Dowden asking the ECB to reconsider the suspension.
The ECB are now also investigating one more England cricketer for racist tweets during his teen years. Holding said in his case too, it should be investigated if he repeated the same offence again.
“I don’t know who that player is, so I don’t know how many years ago he was 15. Has he done anything since then? Can they find records of him in the last two to three years doing offensive things, saying offensive things or tweeting offensive things?
“…we all make mistakes as young people, but if we can recognise those mistakes and correct them, and change our lives to recognise that was rubbish, and then do the right thing going forward,” he said.
“I am someone who likes to give someone second chances, or even third chances.”
Former England batsman Michael Carberry differed with Dowden while former batsman Mark Ramprakash also did not appreciate Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s support to his minister on the issue.
“I totally agree with Michael Carberry and what Ramps are saying. You keep on hearing that politics and sport shouldn’t mix, but then you keep on hearing the politicians getting involved.
“When I hear Boris Johnson getting involved…I would hope that Boris Johnson would make that one comment and move on, and allow the cricket people to deal with cricketing matters. Yes they may say sportsmen get involved in politics.
“But sportsmen get involved in politics because of humanitarian things, not to do with the principle or policy of the politicians or the government. I would hope they would allow the cricket people to carry on and do their own stuff.”
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