Ollie Robinson tweets: Education is the best way forward, but should not be confined just to cricketers - Chris Waters

“ASK me my three main priorities for government, and I tell you: education, education, education.”

England's Ollie Robinson: Showed remorse.

So said Tony Blair at the Labour Party conference in 1996.

The mantra applies just as well to the subject of racism and discrimination in cricket.

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Until egregious attitudes are rooted out at source, and education made the No 1 priority, there can be no hope of a game that is inclusive for everyone.

England's Ollie Robinson reacting during day four of the first LV= Insurance Test match at Lord's (Picture: PA)

That cricket still has much to do – in common with all sports and with all walks of life – is clear after a year in which such issues have rarely been out of the headlines.

News of Ollie Robinson’s suspension – pending an investigation into racist and sexist tweets made when the England bowler was in his late teens – is merely the tip of an iceberg that is melting away misconceptions.

Ever since a policeman knelt on the neck of a black man in Minneapolis in May last year, the zeitgeist has belatedly changed for the better.

Cricket is but one speck in a society that has been forced to confront some unwanted truths – and is still reeling from the reality of what it has found.

England's Ollie Robinson

That cricket is trying to raise its game and make progress, however, should neither be disregarded nor dwarfed by the historic tweets of troglodyte teenagers.

This year, the Professional Cricketers’ Association rolled out anti-racism workshops for the first time as part of its pre-season briefings with the 18 first-class counties after a survey which showed that around 20 per cent of its members had experienced racism in the professional game.

Most felt this racism was “banter”, highlighting perfectly the need for greater education, while the fact that fewer than 200 of the PCA’s 600 members bothered to complete the survey has been a further spur to the efforts of the players’ union.

Although some might dismiss this as “better late than never”, it is nevertheless a start, a commitment towards creating a more socially intelligent, respectful game, and it complements the work of the England and Wales Cricket Board, which recently introduced a new equality, diversity and inclusion action plan to tackle the broad range of topics therein contained.

Although it often feels as if organisations have to be jolted into action when left with little choice, this work – and the positive intentions behind it – must be given a chance to bear fruit in what is an ongoing process evolving at speed.

The most important thing is that the conversation has started, while there is clearly a growing realisation that one cannot make reprehensible remarks on social media, however long ago, and expect to get away with it, heightening also the need for greater education in schools to ensure that we are developing digitally responsible citizens of all stripes.

Those points established (and we can at least be gladdened by a general awakening around us), the emphasis should now be on looking forward as opposed to looking back.

Yes, Robinson was a fool and, judging from the content of tweets that also made reference to Madeleine McCann and Gary Speed, an unpleasant fool at that but people change and he was 18/19 years old at the time.

The principle that he who is without sin should cast the first stone is generally a good one to follow and, in this view, compassion the more preferable and progressive attitude to take.

Every indication is that Robinson, now 27, has turned his life around after he was sacked by Yorkshire in 2014 for a number of unrelated unprofessional actions, going on to carve a new career at Sussex.

Fair play if that is so, and one certainly saw no reason to doubt the sincerity of the very public apology that Robinson delivered after his Test debut was marred when the tweets came to light.

For that reason (and taking it as read that those inclined to trawl back through old Twitter accounts looking for trouble are the dregs of our species), one cannot help but feel that the decision to suspend him for this Thursday’s Test and to launch an investigation into the affair is an over-reaction by the ECB.

Indeed, it appears to show more about the ECB and its desire to be seen to be doing the right thing and ticking the right boxes than it does about Robinson, whose actions were a particularly bad look for the governing body after England had made such a big thing about denouncing discrimination in all forms ahead of the Lord’s Test when the players stood for a “moment of unity”.

But education should not be confined to the players.

For too long, the ECB has presided over a sport that is not sufficiently representative of the society it serves and it would do better to focus on that as opposed to keeping the spotlight on someone who has already apologised profusely, been publicly humiliated and will carry the stigma for the rest of his life.