Ollie Robinson taking short break from cricket - with full support of Sussex
Ollie Robinson is taking a short break from cricket after the tweets row that has overshadowed the terrific start to his England career.
The Sussex pace bowler apologised for racist and sexist tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013 that came to light on the day he made his Test debut againat New Zealand.
He has been suspended by England pending an investigation but will not play for Sussex in their first two Vitality Blast games.
Sussex say they will support him rather than adding to the penalties he is already suffering and have put out a statement today, saying: "Ollie Robinson will not be part of the Sussex Sharks squad for the team’s opening two Vitality Blast fixtures against Gloucestershire and Hampshire Hawks on Friday and Saturday evenings. After a difficult week, Ollie has decided to take a short break from the game to spend time with his young family.
"Player and staff welfare – including mental health and wellbeing - is a priority for the club and, as such, Sussex Cricket fully supports Ollie in his decision. When he is ready to return, Ollie will be welcomed back to the club, where discussions with the remainder of the squad over the last week have made clear that he retains the support of all his Sussex teammates. We remain in close contact with Ollie from a welfare perspective and will issue further updates on his availability at the relevant times.
"Another of Sussex Cricket’s priorities is making cricket a game for everyone in our community. Ollie’s tweets were completely unacceptable, and their content is totally at odds with our stated ambition to inspire people from every background in our county to say, ‘I feel part of Sussex Cricket’.
"Ollie is a very different man from the one that wrote those tweets and has clearly learned much in the intervening years. He has made clear the shame, embarrassment, and remorse he feels for the discriminatory comments he made. As a result of his actions, Ollie has had the opportunity to represent his country suspended, is at the centre of intense public and media scrutiny and faces the possibility of further disciplinary action from the ECB.
"Sussex Cricket will not be adding to these significant penalties. The club will turn its attention to supporting Ollie in his commitment to continue to educate himself in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion. Ollie has more to learn in this area. We all do. We all have a responsibility to improve and to make cricket a game for everybody.
This is why, last year, we created an Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Sub-Committee of the Board of Sussex Cricket to devise a plan in this area. Among the initial actions agreed are further training for all our staff, our Board and our Trustees, the introduction of diversity champions for specific protected characteristics, Urban Cricket Plans to maximise engagement with the diverse communities in Sussex’s biggest towns and cities, a commitment to challenge non-inclusive behaviours in our organisation and the introduction of regular consultation with our employees, customers, volunteers, officials and players to make sure we know exactly where we can improve.
"Everyone at the club is committed to furthering our understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion through education. This will be an ongoing focus for us and one that will take time. As evident in society as a whole, there are no quick fixes to address these deep-rooted issues. Ollie, as well as everyone else at Sussex Cricket, will be involved in our efforts to make sure we as an organisation build on the work we have already done and continue to get better."