For his historical racist and sexist tweeting history, Ollie Robinson has been given an 8 match ban and was fined £3200 by the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC).
Fined, yes. However, he won't actually miss any cricket at all after the announcement of the ban in the near future.
Five games of the ban are suspended for two years and three have already been served, after he missed the second Test against New Zealand and two T20 Blast matches for Sussex Sharks.
Robinson's posts from 2012 and 2013 overshadowed his test debut, coming to light during the first England v New Zealand test in June.
Robinson said the following in response:
"I fully accept the CDC's decision. As I have said previously, I am incredibly embarrassed and ashamed about the tweets I posted many years ago and apologise unreservedly for their contents.
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 offence. This has been the most difficult time in my professional career for both my family and myself.
Whilst I want to move on, I do want to use my experience to help others in the future through working with the PCA [player's body the Professional Cricketers' Association]."
Why does this matter?
We should be aware of a mitigating circumstance on the half of the ECB here. They did not decide the punishment - that was down to the independent CDC.
That being said, it is still remarkable that the ‘punishment’ in a cricketing world which is purportedly committed to diversity is a fine that most professional cricketers can well afford, and having to miss 3 games, two of which were only domestic T20s.
Question: What message does that send to the communities affected by Ollie Robinson's tweets? Answer: We take our ‘cricket is a game for everyone’ message so seriously, that we will announce a ban, but ensure that ban has no impact on Robinson's current cricket career.
Consider the extremely lengthy bans that Cameron Bancroft (9 months), David Warner and Steve Smith (12 months) faced for tampering with the ball. Cricket Australia came down like a tonne of bricks on the players, firstly to make them aware of the severity of their transgression, but also to send a clear message of zero tolerance to any other Australian players: You do not even consider doing this, or your career could be over.
We understand that Ollie Robinson is a different person, matured greatly and has been very remorseful since the tweets came to light. It is important to give Robinson the credit that he can learn, develop and improve as a person.
But the minorities who are affected by discrimination in cricket deserve better, and the ECB have missed a golden opportunity to show they are 100% committed to diversity.
Instead, they hand out a superficial ban which does not affect Ollie Robinson in any significant manner.
By the way, did we ever hear about the consequences for Jos Buttler, Jimmy Anderson and Eoin Morgan's tweets…?
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