Journalist who reported second cricketer has 'solution' for people punished for old tweets

8 June 2021, 19:49

By Fiona Jones

Cricket journalist George Dobell suggests a "solution" for those punished over historical offensive tweets, following his revelation that a second England cricketer being investigated hours after bowler Ollie Robinson was suspended.

The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed a second England player is being investigated over an "offensive" tweet, announced hours after debutant Ollie Robinson's suspension.

Mr Robinson awaits the outcome of the investigation into his "racist and sexist" social media posts made in 2012-13.

The new alleged offence was unearthed by ESPNcricinfo - a cricket publication - which published the contents of the tweet but concealed the person's identity as they were under the age of 16 at the time.

ESPNcricinfo journalist George Dobell said, "I don't even know that we did the right thing reporting it but I wouldn't have felt happy turning the other way and pretending we didn't see it either. It's a very difficult situation and I've got quite a lot of sympathy for the ECB."

He told Eddie that there is not always a "clear line" between harmless joking and offensive behaviour, however both cricketers "must take some responsibility" despite their youth, especially as Ollie Robinson was able to vote and pay taxes at the time.

Mr Dobell told LBC, "I think we're going to have to have an amnesty where what has happened in the past, within reason, is in the past and there's a moratorium on discipline. But if anything happens in the future you are going to be punished.

"I don't see that the game tearing itself apart like this is particularly helpful.

"I'm a middle class white man and I haven't suffered racism or sexism and for that reason it's possibly not my place to say let's forgive and forget and move on.

"I think if we're actually having these conversations and looking for solutions, I haven't got a better one than that yet. And unless we're going to blame each other and punish each other, I don't really see how we're going to progress."

He questioned whether punishment helps or causes resentment: "Engagement and enlightenment. Isn't that how you get real change?"