Ollie Robinson: Important England players learn from controversy, says James Anderson

James Anderson says the England players have accepted Ollie Robinson’s apology but added that the last week has been a “difficult time”, with Robinson suspended by the ECB for offensive tweets he posted as an 18-year-old.

The 27-year-old Robinson, who impressed on the field on his Test debut at Lord’s taking seven wickets and scoring 42 with the bat, is not available for selection for England’s second Test against New Zealand starting at Edgbaston on Thursday.

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Robinson said he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” as he apologised “unreservedly” for the racist and sexist tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013, which were unearthed last Wednesday, the same day England and New Zealand shared a ‘Moment of Unity’, with the hosts wearing T-shirts designed as a stand against discrimination of all kinds.

  • Robinson suspended from international cricket
  • Carberry: No respect for Dowden’s comments
  • Silverwood gives Robinson no assurances over England future

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has since called the ECB’s suspension “over the top” and urged them to reconsider its decision, a stance that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “supportive” of.

“It’s a difficult time,” Anderson told reporters on Tuesday. “As players, we’re trying to learn from this.

“We realise it’s important to try and educate around these issues, which we’re continuing to with the ECB and the PCA.

“We’ve already been doing workshops before this series to try and help improve ourselves as people, basically, to try and make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen.”

As for the reaction to Robinson’s apology in the England dressing room, Anderson added: “It has been accepted.

“He stood up in front of the group and apologised, and you could see how sincere he was and how upset he was.

“As a group, we appreciate that he’s a different person now. He has done a lot of maturing and growing since then and he’s got the full support of the team.

“He has definitely changed as a person and is going to improve, learn from this.”

ECB probes second player’s tweet

Further news broke on Monday night that the ECB is looking into claims that a second England player posted “historical offensive material”, with Wisden unearthing a tweet, publishing its content but concealing the alleged England cricketer’s identity because he was under the age of 16 at the time.

The ECB said in a statement: “We are looking into it and will make a further comment in due course.”

Asked whether it was fair for players to be held to account for such historical social media posts, sent at a young age, Anderson said: “I remember being that age. You do make mistakes.

“You’re very young and inexperienced but, as people, we’ve just got to try and get better, improve and make sure that this sort of thing doesn’t happen – that people are aware it’s unacceptable.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are. You can never know too much. I think it’s really important that we keep doing this, keep buying into this, because it’s really important for our game – we want it to be an inclusive one.”

Anderson himself has also had an historical tweet circulated in the past 24 hours and he says he’s changed as a person in the last decade.

“It’s something we’re definitely going to have to look at [historic social media posts]. But if we educate well enough, that language and those tweets don’t go out in the first place.

“The historical stuff, for me, it was 10, 11 years ago. I have certainly changed as a person since then. That’s the difficulty; things do change and you do make mistakes.”

Anderson ‘very proud’ ahead of record cap

Anderson made his Test debut at the age of 20 back in 2003, while Thursday’s second Test against New Zealand will see the now 38-year-old break Sir Alastair Cook’s record by earning his 162nd cap for England – “if selected”.

“I’m not sure of the team yet,” Anderson said. “But hopefully I’ve got the opportunity to do that.

“It has been an incredible 15 years or so really. To get this far is amazing and, knowing how much Cooky played, it makes me very proud I’ve actually got to this point.”

Watch day one of the second Test between England and New Zealand, at Edgbaston, live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Thursday.

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