Australia news April 7, 2017

O'Keefe banned, fined for offensive outburst


Steve O'Keefe has been fined for the second time in eight months © AFP

Steve O'Keefe has been banned from this year's domestic limited-overs competition by New South Wales and fined $20,000 by Cricket Australia for making highly offensive comments while intoxicated at the after-party following the Steve Waugh Medal presentation.

In what was his second alcohol-related offence in the past nine months - he was fined $10,000 and handed an infringement notice by NSW Police for an incident at a Sydney pub last year after returning home injured from the Test tour of Sri Lanka - O'Keefe is believed to have made a string of offensive remarks after the awards ceremony, which was held at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney on Saturday night.

Having performed so well for Australia on the recent tour of India, O'Keefe now finds himself on exceedingly thin ice with both his state and the national team. O'Keefe said he would seek specialist counselling in the wake of the episode.

"At an official Cricket NSW function I became intoxicated and made highly inappropriate comments. There is no excuse for this and I take full responsibility and offer an unconditional apology," O'Keefe said in a statement. "I accept the sanctions imposed by Cricket Australia and Cricket NSW and welcome the chance to receive specialist counselling.

"I have a big challenge ahead and I am determined to meet it with actions, not just words. To all of the members of the cricket family I love and respect so much, again, apologies for letting you down."

Senior officials from both Cricket NSW and CA were furious at O'Keefe's behaviour, particularly after he worked assiduously and well to prepare himself for the India tour, where he was among Australia's most accomplished performers.

"Stephen has not upheld the standards expected of a NSW and Australian cricketer in the aftermath of the India tour where he proudly represented his state and country," NSW chief executive Andrew Jones said. "As this is his second recent offence we believe a strong penalty is appropriate. At Cricket NSW, we want all our people to achieve their potential on and off the field and Stephen needs to refocus himself on that task."

Pat Howard, the CA team performance manager, said the incident overshadowed what had been a most productive season for O'Keefe. "There is no time or place for unacceptable behaviour from any of our players in Australian Cricket, and we continue to take a zero-tolerance approach to this," he said.

"We're extremely disappointed this situation occurred, particularly on the back of a previous incident, and it now overshadows Stephen's on field performance on the recent tour of India."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ELECTRIC_LOCO_WAP4'S_MAMA on April 12, 2017, 9:22 GMT

    I remember SOK preaching like an angel during the recent Ind-Aus series.

  • ELECTRIC_LOCO_WAP4'S_MAMA on April 12, 2017, 8:21 GMT

    For a moment, I misread the the name as Kohli. Then later, I realized Kohli has no such off-field issues.

  • sanj747 on April 10, 2017, 2:07 GMT

    Very disappointing performance. SOK has serious issues. His chances of playing again for Australia re more than likely gone. As for playing for NSW, the only hope is that if he shows improvement as there will be a place for him with Lyon being busy playing the Ashes and away in SAF. @Robin292 this article has nothing to do with the Ashes or with India performing for the next 5 to 8 years. In any case the Ashes is quite important to both Aus and England. It is an iconic series.The fact that it might not be important to others outside is immaterial.

  • Raz2802 on April 9, 2017, 0:22 GMT

    CASS.SMITH2020, you are sounding very naïve with your "its the person not alcohol that makes things bad" thinking. FYKI, alcohol is an intoxicant and malignant to one's health. And intoxicants can make you do and say things which you'd not otherwise have said or done. Therefore, it is also foolish of you to say, "Alcohol did not make him say offensive things."


    The side-effects of Alcohol consumptions may not be visible in each and every Drinker, but they are bound to show up at one time or the other (in the form of Accidents, Filthy Abuses, Vomiting, Damaged Liver and even Bankruptcy).


    By no stretch of imagination, one can recommend any alcoholic beverages, from the health point of view. It is very strange that the world over Drinks are considered fashionable. And have you ever heard of healthy beverages? If not, read my post below.

  •   David Priol on April 8, 2017, 9:08 GMT

    Probably said what he thought of Kohli!!!

  • Robin292 on April 8, 2017, 6:40 GMT

    Aussies usually fine players for off the field incidents. Pity CA don't do the same for on field stuff. Mathew Wade being a Test player just shows the weaknesses of this country. Looks like the next 5/8 years belong to India!! The Ashes mean nothing to world cricket.

  • Baundele on April 8, 2017, 5:39 GMT

    On liquid overdose, people usually tell the truth, truths that should not be told. I am very sad for Steve that he could not control the level. He did pretty well in India, and this incident will make his comeback very difficult.

  • Peterputer on April 8, 2017, 1:56 GMT

    @ SajishThomas, if you read the story, You'll find that SOK had been fined $10,000 previously, so it was not his first offence in the last year. SO just warning him is clearly not going to work. Some people handle alcohol excess by falling asleep or throwing up - in other cases what comes out of their mouths is even worse and their actions unconscionable. I don't know what SOK did, but it appears to be pretty serious. as for the comment by @Johnthekiwi, Boon in particular had a reputation for revolting behaviour on airlines. They just got away with it because they were "heros". Good on CA. SOK has work to do, on both his behaviour and his spinning. I'll take Lyon any dat at this stage.

  • cricfan58119642 on April 7, 2017, 23:59 GMT

    @Incognito_Brown well, no. It's a badly kept secret he's one of Aus' most effective spin bowlers and would be the incumbent spinner if not for badly timed injuries and selectors loving Lyon so much. You may want to check his FC and test stats but more importantly his stats over the whole India tour. He bowled extremely well across all four games especially compared to Lyon. Going for runs doesn't equal bad bowling and his innings figures don't tell the whole story.

  • cricfan75708740 on April 7, 2017, 23:39 GMT

    @NAFZAK absolutely agree with your link between the beer sponsor and Australian cricket. It's not the cause of bad behaviour but provides a direct affirmation of alcohol in sport which is the wrong message. You might remember Benson and Hedges tobacco company used to sponsor the one day series many years ago. We'll get there eventually here in Aust!

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