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England bowler Robinson gets ban for tweets but free to play

July 3, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 2, 2021 file photo, England's Ollie Robinson appeals after bowling during the first day of the Test match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London. Robinson has received an eight-match ban for discriminatory tweets but can return to playing cricket immediately after a portion of the ban was suspended for two years. The England and Wales Cricket Board announced the ban after an investigation into the racist and sexist tweets posted between 2012-14 when Robinson was between the ages of 18 and 20. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 2, 2021 file photo, England's Ollie Robinson appeals after bowling during the first day of the Test match between England and New Zealand at Lord's cricket ground in London. Robinson has received an eight-match ban for discriminatory tweets but can return to playing cricket immediately after a portion of the ban was suspended for two years. The England and Wales Cricket Board announced the ban after an investigation into the racist and sexist tweets posted between 2012-14 when Robinson was between the ages of 18 and 20. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

LONDON (AP) — England fast bowler Ollie Robinson received an eight-match ban for discriminatory tweets but can return to playing cricket immediately after a portion of the ban was suspended for two years.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced the ban Saturday after an investigation into Robinson’s racist and sexist tweets posted between 2012-14, when he was between the ages of 18 and 20.

The 27-year-old Robinson had been suspended last month when the tweets resurfaced while he was making his test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s.

The Cricket Discipline Commission, responsible for adjudicating breaches of ECB rules, issued the ban but suspended five of the matches, which frees Robinson to play after having missed the second test against New Zealand on suspension and voluntarily withdrawing himself from selection for matches for his county team.

“I fully accept the CDC’s decision,” Robinson said in a statement with the ECB’s announcement. “As I have said previously, I am incredibly embarrassed and ashamed about the tweets I posted many years ago and apologize unreservedly for their contents.”

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Robinson added: “I am deeply sorry for the hurt I caused to anyone who read those tweets and in particular to those people to whom the messages caused offense. This has been the most difficult time in my professional career for both my family and myself.”

Robinson was also fined 3,200 pounds ($4,400).

The CDC panel considered “the nature and content of the tweets, the breadth of their discrimination, their widespread dissemination in the media and the magnitude of the audience to whom they became available,” it said.

Mitigating factors, it added, included the time that had elapsed since the postings and “a number of personal references which demonstrated that Robinson, who chose to address the panel, is a very different person to the one who sent the tweets.”

Robinson had addressed the panel at a June 30 hearing.

“It also took account of his remorse, admissions and cooperation as well as the huge impact which the revelation of these tweets and its consequences have had upon him and his family,” the statement continued.

Robinson has agreed to participate in anti-discrimination and social media training programs.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said Robinson “will now be available for selection for England again.”

“Ollie has acknowledged that, whilst published a long time ago when he was a young man, these historic tweets were unacceptable,” Harrison said. “He has engaged fully in the disciplinary process, admitted the charges, has received his sanction from the CDC and will participate in training and use his experiences to help others.”

After Robinson’s suspension last month, the ECB said it would review players’ social media to “address any historical issues” and opened the door to taking disciplinary action against other players, if necessary.

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