West Indies fast bowling great Michael Holding feels Ollie Robinson shouldn’t be punished severely by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) for his old racist and sexist tweets if he has since changed his behaviour.
ECB on Sunday (June 6) suspended Robinson, who made his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord’s last week, pending an investigation into his offensive tweets dating back to 2012-13, for which the pacer has already tendered an unconditional public apology.
"(It was) eight, nine years ago. Can the ECB 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 on Tuesday (June 8).
"If he has done something like that nine years ago, and since then he has learnt and 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."
However, Holding supported ECB’s decision to suspend Robinson to investigate the matter.
"You don't allow him to continue playing while an investigation is going on at the same time, because if you find out things that are horrible coming out in that investigation," he said. "But do it quickly, let's get it over with quickly."
The incident has divided opinions, with ECB also drawing flak from the political leaders. England’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has termed ECB’s decision “over the top” while country’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed with him.
Meanwhile, ECB is reportedly probing one more current England player for his old posts on the micro-blogging site.
The old tweets of the player in question were dug by wisden.com, which chose to obscure the identity of the player as he had not reached the age of 16 at that time.