England stars Jimmy Anderson, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler were dragged into English cricket’s social media storm on Tuesday as further unsavoury historic tweets went viral.
On an extraordinary day on which the ECB contemplated how to manage the emergence of offensive Twitter posts by an unnamed player when he was just 15, Anderson – who will become England’s most capped Test player at Edgbaston on Thursday when he appears for the 162nd time – was forced to address a homophobic jibe and the World Cup-winning leadership duo were exposed by a website in India for mocking Indian English.
It follows the suspension of Ollie Robinson by the governing body pending an investigation into racist and sexist public utterances eight and nine years ago that came to a light a week ago today, on his Test debut.
An unsavoury historic tweet from England fast-bowler Jimmy Anderson (above) emerged on Tuesday, forcing the current cricketer to come out and condemn them
Other now-delted posts from England World Cup-winning stars Eoin Morgan (left) and Jos Buttler (right) also went viral
Anderson, 38, tweeting about team-mate Stuart Broad in February 2010, 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’
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
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, who was bowling in the nets at Edgbaston on Tuesday after being called up as an additional member of the second Test squad following the removal of Robinson, have gone a stage further and cancelled their accounts.
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 foul-fingered words is concluded.
Robinson (left) apologised privately to his team-mates and publicly after the tweets emerged
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.
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.
England stars Rory Burns and Dom Bess (left to right) have since deleted their Twitter pages
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.
Boris Johnson (left) and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (right) slammed the ECB’s decision to suspend Robinson amid an investigation into the tweets
‘If I was Ollie Robinson I’m not sure I’d want Boris Johnson involved and trying to support me.’
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.