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Fans slam cricket site Wisden for ‘trawling through players’ socials

Who is Ben Gardner, Wisden’s ‘woke’ writer who exposed SECOND England star’s tweets?

Ben Gardner is the managing editor of wisden.com.

The writer revealed today a second England cricketer posted unsavoury tweets when he was a teenager.

Gardner has worked for wisden.com since March 2017 and has written hundreds of articles for it.

His social media says he goes by the pronouns ‘he/him/ and he lives in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

He also describes himself as a ‘weathered empire builder’.

Before joined Wisden, Gardner worked as an account manager for the International Cricket Council.

In an article pinned on his Twitter page, Gardner defended a female England cricketer who poked fun at the male side as they struggled against India earlier this year.

Alex Hartley had joked it was ‘nice of the England boys to get this test match finished just before England Women play tonight’ followed by a series of clap emojis.

But he post was slammed for former and current male stars including Rory Burns and Ben Duckett.

Gardner defended her post as ‘a joke tossed off by a media figure in the style for which they are becoming known, and an attempt as a fan to make light of and laugh about a tough-to-take result’.  

Cricket fans have blasted Wisden for ‘trawling through the Twitter feeds’ of England stars as a second player is probed over a racist post when he was a teenager.

Fans turned on the ‘Bible of Cricket’ after its associated website wisden.com unearthed the historical tweets from a current star.

The post, said to have been written years ago, said ‘your going out with a asian’ and three hashtags: ‘Asianthroughandthrough’, ‘hweolloo’ and ‘c****y’.

Wisden.com, which shares the name of the traditional Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack but is owned by a separate company and employs a separate staff, did not name the player. However it is believed he was 15 at the time the post was made.

It was also reported other posts on the accused’s social media contained homophobic content.

It comes days after racist and sexist tweets by Ollie Robinson were unearthed, leading the England and Wales Cricket Board to ban him from international matches.

Today cricket fans turned on the prestigious sporting bible, accusing Wisden of ‘going woke’.

One Twitter user, Niall Gooch, wrote: ‘The fact that it’s Wisden is really depressing.

‘The one cricket institution that I might have hoped would just report the game, and leave offence archaeology to the lunatics on Twitter.’

Another wrote: ”Uncovered by Wisden” – What on earth does that mean?’ They have some woke intern doing twitter archaeology looking for offence? It is simply bizarre.’

Bosses at wisden.com tried to play down the time they had spent ‘trawling’ through the social media pages of England’s players in order to find the tweet.

The journalist who wrote the story, Wisden.com’s managing editor Ben Gardner, even claimed on BBC Radio 4 that they ‘weren’t even really looking for it’.

The writer, who is from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire and was previously an ICC account manager, said: ‘Honestly we weren’t even hugely looking for this one.

‘It was a very quick search that unearthed this. I would think, all cricketers of any sort of notability would be going through their old tweets and looking very carefully.’

The latest in the race row enveloping English cricket came as: 

  • England on Sunday night suspended Ollie Robinson pending an investigation into racist and sexist tweets he posted as a teenager;
  • Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden labelled the decision by the English Cricket Board (ECB) as ‘over the top’;
  • The minister was yesterday backed by Boris Johnson who said he agreed with Mr Dowden’s comments; 
  • The ECB last night said it was investigating tweets by a second player who was less than 16 years old at the time.

The offending tweet has now been taken offline by the player as the investigation continues

Fans today turned on the ‘Bible of Cricket' (pictured: The annual cricketers' almanack which Wisden is famous for) after its associated website Wisden.com unearthed the historical tweets from a current England star

Fans today turned on the ‘Bible of Cricket’ (pictured: The annual cricketers’ almanack which Wisden is famous for) after its associated website Wisden.com unearthed the historical tweets from a current England star 

Ben Gardner (pictured), managing editor of Wisden.com, today defended his story on BBC Radio 4 earlier today

Ben Gardner (pictured), managing editor of Wisden.com, today defended his story on BBC Radio 4 earlier today

Ollie Robinson was banned from international cricket pending an inquiry after historic racist and sexist tweets were unearthed last week

Ollie Robinson was banned from international cricket pending an inquiry after historic racist and sexist tweets were unearthed last week

English cricket is facing more turmoil after another racist tweet by an unnamed current player was exposed by a website 

Tom Harrison: England cricket chief keen to diversity the game

Tom Harrison is the head of the England and Wales Cricket Board and is the driving force behind the no-nonsense approach to discipline. The South African-born former cricketer was brought up under apartheid and said he has to sort out the ‘big diversity problem’ in English cricket.

As an undergraduate at Manchester University, he wrote his dissertation on the impact of sport in undermining the apartheid regime, and since joining the ECB six years ago, promoting diversity has been central to his role. Harrison co-authored the ECB’s Inspiring Generations strategy that aims to broaden cricket’s appeal, with a specific focus on increasing engagement in black and south Asian communities.

Tom Harrison is the head of the England and Wales Cricket Board

Tom Harrison is the head of the England and Wales Cricket Board

The 49-year-old told SportsMail in September: ‘The reason I’ve taken this on is because it’s 100 per cent what we need to be about. I grew up in Africa. I spent my early childhood in Nigeria and until I was 15 we lived in South Africa.

‘I grew up in apartheid South Africa and did my university dissertation on the impact of sport in dismantling apartheid. Growing up in South Africa, prejudice was part of everyday life. As a boy, I didn’t really understand, because it was all that I knew.

‘I remember asking my parents why black people had to stand on a different platform when we were getting on a train, or why there were benches with signs saying blacks couldn’t sit on them. When I went to see my house master at school to ask if I could take my friend Segape Mmesi back home for the weekend, he said no. He said I couldn’t take Segape, but I could take Marcus.

‘This was when I was nine years old, so it was a formative experience, and has shaped my fundamental beliefs about what’s right and what’s wrong.’ Harrison was made chief executive officer for the ECB in January 2015. He was previously the senior vice president at sports agency IMG in the UK and Ireland.

Before that he worked for the first in India and lived in the country for five years in total. His role at the ECB marked a belated return, having been its head of marketing from 2003 to 2006. Harrison was also a cricketer himself, having represented Northamptonshire and Derbyshire when he was younger.

As chief of the ECB, Harrison threatened county squads with withdrawing their combined £3.8m a year funding if they did not reach out to ethnic minorities. There are 33 players from ethnic minority backgrounds on the books of the 18 county sides. He added: ‘The bottom line is that promoting diversity will deliver a more sustainable game. The future of the game depends on our ability to be relevant to the communities we serve.

‘You can have a game that is completely broken, but if you’ve got something that’s relevant and appeals to a wide range of people you will find a way through.’ 

It comes as English cricket legend David Gower gave his view on the fresh investigation.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, former England captain Mr Gower, 64, said: ‘You learn through your life.

‘I think he knew what he did wrong at the time. He was younger than 16 so can’t be named.

‘An even younger player. Everyone in sport, in life, is looking at Twitter going ‘I have no idea what I wrote years ago so I best delete it for sure’. 

‘Others have deleted theirs to be sure. The ECB should have looked in before it became a storm.

‘If you’re looking through sport as a whole, or business. If you as a young person apply for a job somewhere it’s perfectly possible interviewers look through social media.

‘Try hard not to espouse racist or sexist views. If you do have a moment of unawareness don’t post it on social media.’

He added to GMB on Robinson: ‘I think it’s heavy handed. I personally don’t see the need to suspend him. He has apologised which is a big start. The whole thing is about education.

‘The whole point is that cricket has tried to play its part to set standards. Racism, misogyny, a long list of things they’re trying to educate people to be aware of. That’s what the players stood for when they put those t-shirts on.’

The discovery of another offensive tweet will infuriate ECB bosses, who last Wednesday unveiled their new anti-discrimination drive on the first morning of the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s.

In a statement, the ECB said the social media post had been ‘brought to our attention’ and the governing body would make further comment ‘in due course’.

Speaking about the site’s decision not to name the player, Wisden’s Mr Garner told BBC Radio 4: ‘I suppose the key difference between this and the Ollie Robinson case is, one, that this player was under the age of 16 at the time of the tweets in question, and also we feel that, in a way, this story is more than just a couple of players’ social media tweets.

‘And (we felt) we wouldn’t want to bring the focus on to just a couple of players, so, we thought that if we could somehow obscure the identity of a cricketer, which we were able to do because we were the first to find this Tweet and bring it to the attention of the England media team, then that then means we could try to shine a light on the wider issues, I suppose.’

It came as former England international Monty Panesar today said the ECB should not give out a ‘harsher’ punishment than a one test-match ban.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, the spin bowler said: ‘I think he shouldn’t be given a harsher punishment than just one match, if what he has learnt makes a lot of sense.’

However Mr Panesar said Robinson must explain his actions and urged that it ‘must come him’.

‘It can’t be a statement from the ECB, it can’t be Sussex backing him up, it’s got to be Ollie Robinson. We want to hear what has Ollie Robinson learned.’

However, former England star, Michael Carberry last night questioned Ollie Robinson’s future in cricket in light of the historic racist and sexist tweets that led to his suspension for the second Test against New Zealand.

The former England batsman was stinging in his criticism of Robinson and English cricket, which he says has learned nothing from a year when the game has come under attack with repeated allegations of institutionalised racism.

‘I thought, ‘Here we go again’,’ said Carberry when asked what his reaction was to the emergence of tweets sent by Robinson nine years ago when he was 18.

David Gower appeared on GMB this morning to give his thoughts on the cricketing scandal

David Gower appeared on GMB this morning to give his thoughts on the cricketing scandal

Michael Carberry questioned Robinson's future in cricket after his suspension

Michael Carberry questioned Robinson’s future in cricket after his suspension

Wisden.com chief says new tweet was unearthed after a ‘very, very quick search’ 

The managing editor of the cricket website that unearthed the latest tweet says it was found after a ‘very quick search’. 

Bosses at Wisden.com today denied they had carried out an extensive search of the unnamed player’s account in order to find the post.

‘Honestly we weren’t even hugely looking for this one,’ Wisden.com’s managing editor Ben Gardner told BBC Radio 4.

‘It was a very, very quick search that unearthed this. I would think, all cricketers of any sort of notability would be going through their old tweets and looking very carefully.’

Speaking about the site’s decision not to name the player, he added: ‘I suppose the key difference between this and the Ollie Robinson case is, one, that this player was under the age of 16 at the time of the tweets in question, and also we feel that, in a way, this story is more than just a couple of players’ social media tweets.

‘And (we felt) we wouldn’t want to bring the focus on to just a couple of players, so, we thought that if we could somehow obscure the identity of a cricketer, which we were able to do because we were the first to find this Tweet and bring it to the attention of the England media team, then that then means we could try to shine a light on the wider issues, I suppose.’

‘It backs up what I said last year that the game has a massive problem. And until people start to deal with the problem it’s not going away.

‘Good on the ECB for suspending Ollie Robinson but I would ask more questions. Why was this not picked up on years ago? Why has this guy been allowed to get this far in his career and achieved what he has achieved at the highest level?’

Asked by Sky Sports News whether there should be a policy of zero tolerance and that Robinson, who made his England debut at Lord’s, should not play cricket again, Carberry said: ‘Absolutely. If he wants to rehab he should do it on the sidelines.’

Meanwhile, Former England captain Michael Vaughan also agreed that the ECB had ‘dealt with it correctly.

Speaking on his BBC Radio 5 Live podcast, ‘Tuffers and Vaughan’, he said: ‘They had to act’.

‘I know there was pressure from powers within that they were potentially going to ask him to leave the game after day one and not participate in the remaining four days – I thought that would have been a little over the top.’

Robinson had earlier received backing from the Government when Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden tweeted: ‘Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and wrong. They are also a decade old and written by a teenager. The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised. The ECB has gone over the top by suspending him and should think again.’

But Carberry said: ‘I have no respect for Oliver Dowden’s comments because this is a bloke who has never been discriminated against.’

England coach Chris Silverwood has refused to give Robinson, who faces the threat of further action from the ECB, any guarantees he will play Test cricket again. Sussex, meanwhile, will decide on Tuesday whether Robinson will play in their opening Twenty20 Blast games later this week. 

The ECB has suspended Robinson (pictured) from all international cricket while the body investigates

The ECB has suspended Robinson (pictured) from all international cricket while the body investigates

Conservative minister Zac Goldsmith (pictured) shared his disapproval at the bowler's suspension, saying it was 'completely disproportionate and absurd'.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (pictured) this morning said the England and Wales Cricket Board has gone 'over the top' with the suspension.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden (pictured right) this morning said the England and Wales Cricket Board has gone ‘over the top’ with the suspension. Meanwhile Conservative minister Zac Goldsmith (pictured left) shared his disapproval at the bowler’s suspension, saying it was ‘completely disproportionate and absurd’. 

 

Boris backs Robinson over ECB suspension

Boris Johnson yesterday gave his backing to England cricket star Ollie Robinson after he was suspended over the tweets.

Downing Street said the PM agrees with minister Oliver Dowden that the ECB has ‘gone over the top’ by suspending the fast-bowler.

Mr Dowden had earlier joined a handful of Tory ministers and MPs who rallied against the ECB’s decision.

But Labour backed the ECB, with shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens saying : ‘It is right that the ECB takes the action that they think is necessary and appropriate to tackle racism and other forms of discrimination in their sport.

‘They should not be criticised for doing so by the Secretary of State.’

It comes as Boris Johnson yesterday gave his backing to England cricket star Ollie Robinson after he was suspended over the tweets.

Downing Street yesterday said that PM agrees with minister Oliver Dowden that the ECB has ‘gone over the top’ by suspending the fast-bowler.

Mr Dowden had earlier joined a handful of Tory ministers and MPs who rallied against the ECB’s decision.

However, Labour have backed the ECB, with shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens saying : ‘It is right that the ECB takes the action that they think is necessary and appropriate to tackle racism and other forms of discrimination in their sport.

‘They should not be criticised for doing so by the Secretary of State.’

The tweets – posted when Robinson was 18 and 19 and playing second team cricket for Kent, Leicestershire and Yorkshire – were dredged up from 2012 and 2013. Earlier he attended £24,750-a-year King’s School in Canterbury.

The Margate-born bowler, who is now 27 and has apologised for his actions, will miss Thursday’s second Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston and could face further punishment at the hands of the ECB.

Mr Dowden, posting on Twitter, yesterday criticised the decision to suspend Robinson, saying: ‘Ollie Robinson’s tweets were offensive and wrong. They are also a decade old and written by a teenager.

‘The teenager is now a man and has rightly apologised. The ECB has gone over the top by suspending him and should think again.’ 

Yesterday Mr Johnson waded into the debate by backing Mr Dowden, with his official spokesperson saying: ‘Yes. The Prime Minister is supportive of the comments from Oliver Dowden that he made via a tweet this morning.

‘As Oliver Dowden set out, these were comments made more than a decade ago, written by someone as a teenager and for which they have rightly apologised.’

Meanwhile, Mr Goldsmith, the Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment, said: ‘He sent stupid tweets as a teenager, and has apologised profusely. What is to gain in trying to ruin his career over this?’  

‘The Bible of Cricket’: How Wisden earned its prestigious name

First launched by John Wisden in 1864, the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack is, even in today’s digital age, still synonymous with cricket.

Wisden, known as ‘The Little Wonder’, was a well-known cricketer at the time and owned a sports equipment in London. In 1864 he decided to launch an annual Almanack – a book which details information about cricket across the year.

The first edition contained 112 pages – a tiny amount compared to the modern day editions which often run to more than 1,500 pages. The almanack continued to be published throughout the World Wars, meaning it has been published in each of the last 154 years since it was founded.

In the 1930s it earned its nickname as ‘The Bible of Cricket’ – a term used by journalist Alec Waugh in a review for  the London Mercury. Along with the almanac, Wisden has its associated website, Wisden.com – which has a different staff and is owned by a separate company – and the reborn Wisden Cricket Monthly.

He was joined in his criticism of the decision by fellow Tory, George Freeman.

The Mid-Norfolk MP said on Twitter: ‘Seriously? Posting inappropriate tweets when a teenager – for which he’s apologised – is now a disqualifying crime for playing cricket for your country? Seriously??’

It came as on Sunday night the England cricket team announced they had suspended Robinson from all international cricket over the tweets, posted between 2012 and 2013.

Robinson apologised last week, while captain Joe Root described his debutant fast bowler’s behaviour as ‘unacceptable’.

Chief Executive Officer of the ECB Tom Harrison earlier said in a statement: ‘I do not have the words to express how disappointed I am that an England Men’s player has chosen to write tweets of this nature, however long ago that might have been.

‘Any person reading those words, particularly a woman or person of colour, would take away an image of cricket and cricketers that is completely unacceptable. We are better than this.’

Robinson will miss Thursday’s second Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston, with the potential for further punishment as the ECB’s integrity department try to establish whether he had any form of county contract when he posted the messages on social media in 2012 and 2013.

If he did, his case will be heard by the independent Cricket Discipline Commission. If not, the ECB will take charge.

Either way, he can still play for Sussex, with whom he has a separate employment contract.

The news came less than two hours after a drawn first Test at Lord’s, with Root admitting he ‘couldn’t believe it’ when he was told on Wednesday night about the tweets.

‘Ollie’s learned a hard lesson,’ said the England captain. 

‘It’s unacceptable what he’s done. He’s fronted up to the dressing-room and the world, and shown remorse, but we’ve got to keep looking to learn and educate as much as we can, and make the game as diverse as possible. 

‘We’re not saying the team is perfect, but we’re always trying to improve.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk