Alex Hartley reveals online abuse following Twitter misunderstanding with England's Rory Burns
Hartley: "I actually tweeted it when Joe Root got his five-fer and the game was clearly going to finish that day, but it could have gone either way. Yes, if you're an England player and you see that tweet it looks like I've done it because they've lost and I hadn't"
Last Updated: 06/03/21 1:54pm
Former England international Alex Hartley has revealed the online abuse she has received in the wake of her tweet during England's two-day Test defeat to India last week.
Hartley took to Twitter to promote the women's one-day international clash with New Zealand after the England men's side, having been bowled out for 112 and 81, had collapsed to a 10-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad.
"Nice of the England boys to get this Test match finished just before England Women play tonight," Hartley wrote with four clapping emojis.
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Test opener Rory Burns, in a tweet liked by James Anderson and Ben Stokes but since deleted, wrote: "Very disappointing attitude considering all the 'boys' do to support the women's game."
Nottinghamshire batsman Ben Duckett, who won four caps for England and played his last Test in 2016, joined in by calling it an "average tweet".
Hartley insists the tweet was purely tongue-in-cheek but, in her No Balls podcast with current England international Kate Cross, said she had received a barrage of social media abuse.
"I'm a bit surprised at what has happened and a bit let down in a way from certain things that have happened," Hartley said.
"I actually tweeted it when Joe Root got his five-fer and the game was clearly going to finish that day, but it could have gone either way. Yes, if you're an England player and you see that tweet it looks like I've done it because they've lost and I hadn't.
"We called it a clumsy tweet, didn't we? The intention of the tweet was genuinely to have a bit of a giggle and say, 'By the way the girls play and it might be a bit better'.
"In my opinion I've done nothing wrong. I've done a tweet that was meant to be funny and it's been taken as not funny and people are giving me grief like I still play for England - and I don't.
"It's been really weird because the tweet went down really, really well until Rory quoted it and then it went down like a sack of s***. I just felt like I was getting attacked from all angles over something that genuinely was meant to be a bit of humour.
"The messages of slating women's cricket and saying that the men fund women's cricket blah blah blah. I can deal with that.
"But it's when people are telling you to go and die in a hole. Like, really? Just for tweeting one thing.
"The one that really infuriated me was I got a tweet from some guy saying, 'Women's cricket's c***, women shouldn't play sport, women this, women that'. He was a primary school head teacher. You just think, 'If only I could show everybody who you really are'."
Hartley, who is no longer contracted by England, is a regular cricket journalist and believes her tweet was singled out among other commentators' opinions on the Test because she is a woman.
She also says she was told by the England and Wales Cricket Board that she was in the wrong, although it is understood both Hartley and Burns were spoken to in the aftermath.
"Mine got picked out I think because I'm a woman. And the really, really disappointing thing for me was getting an email from the ECB telling me I'd got it wrong.
"I was fine with the trolls until that moment, because it felt like they were sticking up for Rory and not me. Not that I wanted them to stick up for me, but I wanted them to see it from my point of view as well.
"For them just to say, 'You've got it wrong' - I just thought, 'Hang on a minute, what do the men actually do to support the women, genuinely'. (That) has been really disappointing."
Sky Sports News understands, however, that the ECB reminded both players involved of their responsibilities to help promote the game in a positive manner, with the governing body "condemning" any abuse of anyone involved.
'Disappointed in ECB response to Hartley-Burns dispute'
On the Cricket Show this week, former England captain Charlotte Edwards and journalist Isabelle Westbury joined Sky Sports' pundits Nasser Hussain and Rob Key to discuss the challenges women face in cricket, broadcasting and journalist.
Westbury was critical with how the ECB handled the Hartley and Burns social media dispute.
She said: "I found it quite disappointing, the ECB's response to the Alex Hartley debate. I think Burns and Hartley were both personally talked to. Slapped wrists, so to speak. I think the specific quote from the ECB was that Rory Burns had to be reminded of his responsibilities.
"His responsibility is to not have those attitudes in the first place. It's like ECB have put a plaster on it, ignoring the wider cause which is actually from some of the attitudes from the men's players that seem to be quite problematic. The ECB have quite a few things to learn.
"It's a wider, more deep-rooted cultural problem. With the Alex Hartley-Rory Burns spat, we saw with the attitudes there is still a lot to be desired there. The idea that the women's game owes everything it has to the men's game... I saw a tweet saying 'Why would you watch a women's game?'.
"The women's and men's game work well together. The women's game of course has benefitted from interest in the men's game. If you are a men's professional cricket player and you open up the game to 50 per cent more of the population then it is going to benefit you as well. It's a symbiotic relationship rather than the women owing the men and the men have done everything for them."
Nasser Hussain said to Edwards: "It must all be incredibly exhausting. I watched you and commentated on you. You are a tough character. When you are playing the game people are having a go at you. When you are commentating people are having a go at the game you are talking on. I have seen all of the tweets, 'This is no better than club cricket'. When you become a broadcaster you are asked 'What do you know about facing a 90mph ball?' No wonder you end up with a woman in a car crying her eyes out."
Hussain was referring to BBC reporter Sonja McLaughlan, who received online abuse following England's Six Nations match with Wales on February 27.
"I think it's ridiculous. I don't turn up to a comms box and say 'how many Tests have you played?' I judge people by how they broadcast. Can they call a key moment? Have they done their research? All of us don't tick every single box in broadcasting.
"How can I go to Australia and lecture on how to win the Ashes? I lost the Ashes in 11 days. I can still have a comment on it. I've never played a T20 game so does that mean I can never commentate on a T20 game?"
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