Joe Root says England have faced up to ‘ugly truths’ amid Twitter posts storm


England captain Joe Root said his side have confronted some ‘ugly truths’ in an ‘uncomfortable week’ after a number of racist and sexist tweets resurfaced.

Preparations for Thursday’s second Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston have been completely overshadowed by the embarrassing re-emergence of offensive posts from up to a decade ago.   

James Anderson, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler were dragged into the furore on Tuesday in the wake of Ollie Robinson’s suspension by the ECB pending an investigation into racist and sexist tweets posted as a teenager.

England captain Joe Root said his players have confronted 'ugly truths' this week after a storm of controversy over offensive historic social media posts

England captain Joe Root said his players have confronted ‘ugly truths’ this week after a storm of controversy over offensive historic social media posts

An unsavoury historic tweet from England fast-bowler Jimmy Anderson (above) emerged on Tuesday, forcing the current cricketer to come out and condemn them

An unsavoury historic tweet from England fast-bowler Jimmy Anderson (above) emerged on Tuesday, forcing the current cricketer to come out and condemn them

An unsavoury historic tweet from England fast-bowler Jimmy Anderson (above) emerged on Tuesday, forcing the current cricketer to come out and condemn them

Further offensive tweets posted by an unnamed player when he was just 15 also emerged.

Speaking on the eve of the second Test, Root didn’t talk about the individuals involved specifically but said the team had resolved to push on with their anti-discrimination campaign.

They wore T-shirts and stood alongside their New Zealand counterparts ahead of the first Test at Lord’s and this will be repeated ahead of the second match.

Root told the BBC: ‘We’ve had to face up to some ugly truths this past week or so and there will be challenges moving forward.

‘But this group of players is very much committed to moving the game forward, to making it a better place, making it more inclusive and educating ourselves further.

‘We’re going to have to front up to what has happened, but ultimately we want to move forward in a really positive way, to keep going on this journey we’ve started of trying to better our sport.

‘We will continue to do that because that’s how we all feel.’ 

Other now-deleted posts from England World Cup-winning stars Eoin Morgan (left) and Jos Buttler (right) also went viral

Other now-deleted posts from England World Cup-winning stars Eoin Morgan (left) and Jos Buttler (right) also went viral

Other now-deleted posts from England World Cup-winning stars Eoin Morgan (left) and Jos Buttler (right) also went viral

Root added: ‘It’s been an uncomfortable week for everyone. There have been some uncomfortable things come to light over the past week and we have to own that and accept that.

‘We have spent a lot of time talking about things, whether it be this week or over the last year in particular. How can we shape the game better, how can we make a real difference as a group of players?

‘We are still very much committed to that, even in light of what’s happened. That’s not going to sway us.

‘We have to face up to things. We accept that we are not perfect and we have made mistakes, as a lot of young people have. We have to own that and be strong with that.

‘If we can do that and keep trying to spread that message, a lot of good can come off the back of some bad stuff that has happened in the last week.’

Anderson, 38, is poised to become England’s most capped Test player at Edgbaston on Thursday but his 162nd match has already been overshadowed by a homophobic jibe.

Tweeting about team-mate Stuart Broad in February 2010, Anderson wrote: ‘I saw Broady’s new haircut for the first time today. Not sure about it. Thought he looked like a 15 yr old lesbian!’

Responding to it, he said: ‘For me it’s 10-11 years ago, I’ve certainly changed as a person. And I think that’s the difficulty, things do change, you do make mistakes.’

Asked whether there was now an anxiety hanging over the squad due to things that might have been said online in the past, Anderson said: ‘Yeah, I guess. I think it’s something we need to look at. 

‘If there are any tweets from years ago we do have to look at that and again learn from this and be better in the future, try and make sure we know it’s unacceptable to use these sorts of phrases and language.’

One Anderson tweet from 2010 showed him describe Stuart Broad as a '15 year old lesbian'

One Anderson tweet from 2010 showed him describe Stuart Broad as a '15 year old lesbian'

One Anderson tweet from 2010 showed him describe Stuart Broad as a ’15 year old lesbian’

The tweet has now been deleted but it is not known when it was taken down and by whom

The tweet has now been deleted but it is not known when it was taken down and by whom

The tweet has now been deleted but it is not known when it was taken down and by whom

England tweet storm 

Ollie Robinson

The Sussex bowler enjoyed a dream England debut on the field in last week’s first Test against New Zealand but that was completely overshadowed by the emergence of racist and sexist tweets he posted as a teenager.

The tweets, from a decade ago, were published on the first day of Robinson’s debut Test and he apologised publicly and privately to his team-mates for his offensive words.

In one, he wrote: ‘My new Muslim friend is the bomb’ while another said, ‘Not going to lie a lot of girls need to learn the art of class! #getsome.’

Robinson has been suspended by the ECB pending an investigation into the offensive words.

Ollie Robinson was brilliant on debut at Lord's but it was overshadowed by the emergence of racist and sexist tweets he published as a teenager

Ollie Robinson was brilliant on debut at Lord's but it was overshadowed by the emergence of racist and sexist tweets he published as a teenager

Ollie Robinson was brilliant on debut at Lord’s but it was overshadowed by the emergence of racist and sexist tweets he published as a teenager

James Anderson

A homophobic post in which England’s legendary bowler compared Stuart Broad’s hairstyle to a ’15 year old lesbian’ back in February 2010 has emerged.

Addressing the historic tweet, Anderson said: ‘For me it’s 10-11 years ago, I’ve certainly changed as a person. And I think that’s the difficulty, things do change, you do make mistakes.’

Anderson, 38, is set to become England’s most capped Test cricketer when he plays in Thursday’s second Test with New Zealand at Edgbaston.

The emergence of Jimmy Anderson's tweets from 10 years ago came on the eve of the second Test in Birmingham

The emergence of Jimmy Anderson's tweets from 10 years ago came on the eve of the second Test in Birmingham

The emergence of Jimmy Anderson’s tweets from 10 years ago came on the eve of the second Test in Birmingham

Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler

England’s 50-over World Cup winning heroes from 2019 were exposed by a website in India for mocking Indian English.

Screen grabs of Buttler saying ‘Well done on double 100 much beauty batting you are on fire sir,’ to Alex Hales from August 2017, and messages from Morgan and Brendon McCullum to Buttler the following May, the former commenting ‘Sir you’re my favourite batsman’ and McCullum adding ‘Sir, you play very good Opening batting,’ also came to light.

Those posts have been deleted in recent days.

Unnamed England player

Another racist post, made public by website Wisden.com, was unearthed earlier this week. The player was 15 when it was written.

It read: ‘Your [sic] going out with a asian’ followed by an offensive emoji and three racist hashtags.

Sportsmail knows the identity of the individual but is not revealing it as he was a minor at the time it was posted. 

Dom Bess and Rory Burns

Both players have deleted their Twitter accounts in recent days amid the social media storm.

 

 

Morgan and Buttler, England’s 50-over World Cup leadership duo, were exposed by a website in India for mocking Indian English. 

Screen grabs of Buttler saying ‘Well done on double 100 much beauty batting you are on fire sir,’ to Alex Hales from August 2017, and messages from Morgan and Brendon McCullum to Buttler the following May, the former commenting ‘Sir you’re my favourite batsman’ and McCullum adding ‘Sir, you play very good Opening batting,’ also came to light.

It is understood those tweets have been deleted in recent days, although it is uncertain when Anderson’s was removed.

Two England players in Rory Burns and Dom Bess have gone a stage further and cancelled their accounts. 

Dom Bess, called up to the England squad for Thursday's second Test, deleted his account

Dom Bess, called up to the England squad for Thursday's second Test, deleted his account

Dom Bess, called up to the England squad for Thursday’s second Test, deleted his account

This was the message shown to anyone trying to access Bess's Twitter account

This was the message shown to anyone trying to access Bess's Twitter account

This was the message shown to anyone trying to access Bess’s Twitter account  

Opening batsman Rory Burns has also shut down his Twitter account in recent days

Opening batsman Rory Burns has also shut down his Twitter account in recent days

Opening batsman Rory Burns has also shut down his Twitter account in recent days

An ECB spokesperson said: ‘Since we were alerted to offensive tweets last week, a number of historical social media posts by other individuals have been questioned publicly as well.

‘There is no place for discrimination in our sport, and we are committed to taking relevant and appropriate action where required.

‘Given the concerns which have been raised are clearly now broader than a single case, the ECB board will discuss how we deal with issues over historical social media material in a timely and appropriate manner.

‘Each case will be considered on an individual basis, looking at all the facts. We will assess cases with the ECB board before making further statements.’

Robinson, who apologised privately to his team-mates and publicly, performed brilliantly on the field against New Zealand, taking seven wickets and hitting 42 with the bat, but will not play for England again until the investigation into his offensive words is concluded.

The news comes after England player Ollie Robinson (above) was suspended from all international cricket after his debut Test for abusive tweets from a decade ago

The news comes after England player Ollie Robinson (above) was suspended from all international cricket after his debut Test for abusive tweets from a decade ago

The news comes after England player Ollie Robinson (above) was suspended from all international cricket after his debut Test for abusive tweets from a decade ago

Robinson's tweets emerged after day one of the first Test against New Zealand last week

Robinson's tweets emerged after day one of the first Test against New Zealand last week

Robinson’s tweets emerged after day one of the first Test against New Zealand last week

Such restrictions do not apply to Sussex, however, meaning he could feature in the Twenty20 Blast this week.

On Monday evening, offensive remarks made by another unnamed England player were made public by Wisden.com – although Sportsmail knows the identity of the individual but is not revealing it as he was a minor at the time he posted ‘your going out with a asian’ followed by three hashtags which incorporated racial slurs.

A tweet dug up by Wisden.com by an unnamed England player included racist slurs

A tweet dug up by Wisden.com by an unnamed England player included racist slurs

A tweet dug up by Wisden.com by an unnamed England player included racist slurs  

It left the ECB, whose chief executive Tom Harrison announced a zero-tolerance response in reacting to Robinson’s teenage utterances last week, to assess how to deal with an even younger perpetrator.

They were assessing whether to reveal his identity at a time when the organisation has come under direct attack.

Robinson (left) apologised privately to his team-mates and publicly after the tweets emerged

Robinson (left) apologised privately to his team-mates and publicly after the tweets emerged

Robinson (left) apologised privately to his team-mates and publicly after the tweets emerged

Within 48 hours of Robinson undermining their public commitment to tackling various forms of discrimination – the England players donned T shirts with inclusivity and diversity messages on before a ball was bowled in the first international match of the summer at Lord’s – the ECB were forced to deny claims of institutional racism by former umpires John Holder and Ismail Dawood.

Robinson has found sympathy in some quarters, most notably Westminster, but former England batsman Mark Ramprakash yesterday condemned Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s support of Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s view that the ECB had ‘gone over the top’ and should ‘think again’.

Ramprakash, who won 52 Test caps for England, told BBC Breakfast: ‘I think it is very unwelcome. He is trying to bear undue influence in this case.

‘If I was Ollie Robinson I’m not sure I’d want Boris Johnson involved and trying to support me.’

Boris Johnson slammed the ECB's decision to suspend Robinson amid an investigation into the tweets

Boris Johnson slammed the ECB's decision to suspend Robinson amid an investigation into the tweets

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden had earlier spoken out about the Robinson scandal

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden had earlier spoken out about the Robinson scandal

Boris Johnson (left) and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (right) slammed the ECB’s decision to suspend Robinson amid an investigation into the tweets

He added: ‘I’ve heard people express sort of sympathy with Ollie Robinson, and say ‘hasn’t he shown a lot of character?’, but I haven’t heard enough about the victims or the people that these tweets are aimed at.

‘How do they feel? Where is the sympathy for those people? They are UK citizens, a lot of them. We live in a diverse society and we really don’t want this behaviour.’

The Professional Cricketers’ Association on Tuesday said that while they monitor their members’ social media comments in real time, historical checking is not carried out as a matter of course.

A spokesman argued that education – all professionals in the UK were asked to attend online unconscious bias and discrimination classes in pre-season – was the primary focus.

The England players wore t-shirts with anti-discrimination messages before the first Test

The England players wore t-shirts with anti-discrimination messages before the first Test

The England players wore t-shirts with anti-discrimination messages before the first Test 



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