Approach to reporter causes firestorm
West Indies opener Chris Gayle has landed himself in hot water playing in the Big Bash League in Australia.
Gayle, who is plying his trade for the Melbourne Renegades, has received strong criticism for his comments towards a television presenter in an interview during his side’s victory over Hobart Hurricanes at Bellerive Oval today, with Anthony Everard, the head of the BBL, promising action against the batsman.
Channel Ten, the broadcaster, also confirmed that Gayle would not be involved in their coverage for the rest of the tournament as a result of comments he made to their reporter Mel McLaughlin shortly after he had been dismissed.
“I wanted to come and have an interview with you as well,” Gayle said to McLaughlin, when asked about how aggressively he had batted. “That’s the reason why I’m here, just to see your eyes for the first time. It’s nice so. Hopefully we can win this game and have a drink after. Don’t blush, baby.”
Everard, who was at the game, was quick to sharply rebuke Gayle’s comments. “I heard Chris’ comments and they’re disrespectful and simply inappropriate,” he said in a statement.
“We’ll certainly be talking to him and the Renegades about it. This league is all about its appeal to kids, families and females. There’s just no place in the BBL – or, for that matter, cricket anywhere – for that sort of behaviour.”
Melbourne Renegades’ chief executive Stuart Coventry echoed Everard’s comments, saying “there is just no place for that sort of behaviour”.
Channel Ten commentator Mark Howard, joined in the commentary box by former internationals Damien Fleming and Mark Waugh, quickly apologised for Gayle’s comments, but only after Ten’s official twitter account @TenSport had tweeted what Gayle had said, with the hashtag #smooth. That tweet has since been deleted.
“We will be seeking an apology,” David Barham, Channel Ten’s head of sport, told The Herald Sun, adding that he was “deeply offended” by Gayle’s comments. “We won’t be using him in the game anymore. Unless things change in the next few days, it’s not happening. It was totally inappropriate behaviour. Mel’s a working journalist doing a job.”
Gayle has form in this department. In July 2014, when asked by a female reporter during the Caribbean Premier League about the surface the Jamaica Tallawahs, who he was captaining, would be playing on in their next game, Gayle responded: “Well, I haven’t touched yours yet so I don’t know how it feels.”
On that occasion, a CPL spokesperson defended Gayle’s comments but he can expect shorter shrift this time, with Cricket Australia expected to make an official statement on the matter imminently. (cricinfo)