Australia news

Lee stands by Gilbert criticism despite report

Daniel Brettig

December 28, 2012

Comments: 32 | Text size: A | A

Brett Lee announced his international retirement at the SCG, Sydney, July 13, 2012
Brett Lee has been reported by Cricket New South Wales © Getty Images

Brett Lee is standing by his stinging criticism of Cricket New South Wales and its chief executive David Gilbert despite being ordered to face a Cricket Australia disciplinary hearing after being reported for allegedly breaching the Code of Behaviour during an interview. Lee has been reported by Cricket New South Wales following the interview he gave Fairfax Media last weekend, in which he said Gilbert should be sacked.

Lee was critical of Gilbert's handling of the termination of coach Anthony Stuart's contract and also of the way Lee himself had been treated during the final stages of his state career. Although Lee is no longer contracted as a New South Wales player he is playing in the Big Bash League and thus remains bound by Cricket Australia's Code of Behaviour.

Speaking after the charge and hearing were announced, Lee said he was not backing down from his comments, stating he had taken the decision to say what many in NSW were thinking about the recent travails of cricket in the state.

"What I said I meant," Lee told Channel Nine. "I did it in the best interests of NSW cricket. I've loved playing every moment for NSW and I feel in the last five or six years it's gone off the boil. Losing all these players, there's a lot of people that thought it but didn't want to say it so I took the leadership to stand up and I believe it should start right from the top and that's why I mentioned David Gilbert.

"There's a lot of changes that need to happen to improve NSW cricket and I'll stand by what I said. I'm going next week for a hearing from NSW cricket because I can then express my views and the reasons why I said this.

"I'll be looking forward to getting there and having a chat to the guys, whether it's the commissioner or whoever it might be just to give my thoughts on how NSW cricket can improve. I said it out of the kindness of my own heart, I want to see NSW cricket strong again, I believe it's fallen off the pace a bit."

Lee is alleged to have breached Rule 6, regarding unbecoming behaviour, as well as Rule 9, which deals with detrimental public comment. Rule 6 states that players and officials "must not at any time engage in behaviour unbecoming to a representative player or official that could (a) bring them or the game of game into disrepute or (b) be harmful to the interests of cricket".

Rule 9 states that players and officials "must not make public or media comment which is detrimental to the interest of the game".

A date and time for the hearing is yet to be confirmed.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by zenboomerang on (December 31, 2012, 4:01 GMT)

Commented a number of times on CNSW issues with management weakness & lack of planning... Like CWA, coaches & captains fall on their swords while management live with their heads in the ground yet earning big money for little output...

Lee deserves full support from the players association & bring about some level playing field for players & coaches against a CA legal nightmare that leaves them without the ability to make any open & questioning remarks...

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 22:30 GMT)

So Brett Lee is bitten by the officiousness of Australian cricket. Why does Cricket Australia disallow public debate? It should charge itself with making rules that are detrimental to the game. Lee was actually thinking of the interests of cricket when he made his statement.

Posted by SpadeaSpade on (December 29, 2012, 14:39 GMT)

Good onta Binga , If you get the chance to speak face to face with any CA official be sured to let them know that the bowling rotation policy is bringing the game into disrepute and not in the best interests of australia cricket.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

Good for you Brett Lee about time someone had the guts to stand against these pompous asses who control cricket.They think they are a law of their own, It is no news about all the top names who have left NSW Cricket to go to greener pastures. Maybe Gilbert should be sent out to pastures.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 5:25 GMT)

Good for you Brett Lee about time someone had the guts to stand against these pompous asses who control cricket.They think they are a law of their own, It is no news about all the top names who have left NSW Cricket to go to greener pastures. Maybe Gilbert should be sent out to pastures.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 4:40 GMT)

Lee has bled his heart out for CA and CNSW - the least they can do is listen to someone who is speaking frankly, from the bottom of his heart to make things better.

Posted by   on (December 29, 2012, 1:51 GMT)

Good on Bret Lee for calling a spade a spade. I agree with landl47 that management should not hide behind the clauses that were designed to protect the game and not poor performance. Gilbert and co should step up to the plate and take an objective look at the hard cold facts. Better yet resign and let someone more competent run Cricket NSW.

Posted by glance_to_leg on (December 28, 2012, 23:38 GMT)

Always a great competitor, always a charming man, always played with a smile, and a model of sportsmanship. This is not some petulant prima donna shooting his mouth off, but a mature, highly successful cricketer at the end of his career. He is no longer contracted to NSW so why on earth should he not be critical in public? Were he undermining team mates or his own management, he should keep quiet, but instead he seems to be making forthright, but far from unreasonable criticism.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (December 28, 2012, 23:35 GMT)

So Australia is a democracy but we are not allowed to air our views and must toe the admin??

Posted by Wozza-CY on (December 28, 2012, 22:35 GMT)

Good onya Bing. Why can't he say his piece? Clearly something is wrong in the administration of NSW. If you made up a team of disgruntled players that have left NSW to become permanent fixtures elsewhere it would read Cowan, Hughes, Khwaja, Forest, Christian, Hastings, Hogan, Lyon & Bird. That is just a little bit alarming if you ask me.

Posted by Mervo on (December 28, 2012, 10:56 GMT)

Vikas Bhardwaj - that is WHY he is commenting. Others are affected by bad cricket management in NSW and because he has less too lose he is commenting. he is doing the right thing and free speech should not be impeded by individual contracts.

Posted by Andross on (December 28, 2012, 9:22 GMT)

I think regardless of what Lee said (And I only know what I've read from this article), the fact that CricketNSW is trying to muzzle him by making him face disciplinary action sends alarm bells ringing! From the sounds of the article, he's saying that he thinks that cricket in NSW would be better off without one of it's admins, so the fact that the organisers have turned around and are trying to saddle him with bringing the game into disrepute or damaging the game sounds like a clear cut case of heavy handed thuggery on the part of CNSW. "Back down or else."

Posted by koelme on (December 28, 2012, 8:15 GMT)

Well said BrettNSWneeds a better management policy

Posted by Mervo on (December 28, 2012, 8:02 GMT)

Well done Brett. Those who actually know what is happening fully agree with your stand. You are saying what so many players are not allowed to say. New management is needed. Keep it up.

Posted by Pete_AU on (December 28, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

Without wanting to jump on the 'Go Brett' bandwagon it seems wrong that a player cannot say that an administrator is not performing well. Lee's language might have been a touch strong but if he is right it should not matter.

The only other point I would like to make is that Cricket Players win Cricket Matches, not administrators. Administrators are a dime a dozen. Brett Lee is one of a kind (albeit past his best).

Posted by Gordo85 on (December 28, 2012, 6:45 GMT)

Typical Brett Lee. I guess he just never learns.

Posted by polly7777 on (December 28, 2012, 6:18 GMT)

Interestingly he has broken neither rule 6 nor rule 9. Results speak for themselves, before player movements are accounted for.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

Why did the comment come when he is on the verge of stop playing any forms of Cricket and has nothing to loose ?

Posted by Okakaboka on (December 28, 2012, 5:59 GMT)

Good on Lee for expressing his opinion. What really pisses me off is when these administrators black ban a critique of their performance. So, are we allowed to say our Governments are crap? Of course we are and we know both sides of the fence are hopeless. We know this. Now, Lee believes cricket NSW admin is crap..... well durrrr! Clearly it is obvious, so, what Lee isn't allowed to speak his mind???? CA get over yourselves!!! Lee for head of NSW cricket,... No!.... make that head of cricket Australia...... Let's go one better! Lee for Prime Minister!!!

Posted by landl47 on (December 28, 2012, 5:40 GMT)

Personal abuse is detrimental to the game. Criticism of methods of management is not only legitimate but should be welcomed by those who want to see standards set and maintained.

If players, especially those with Lee's experience, can't stand up and say something's wrong, then the path only leads one way and that's downwards.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 5:22 GMT)

Lee could argue quite happily that his remarks are indeed positive for the game, and not detrimental. Criticism is not by its very nature detrimental, unless you live in a police state.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 28, 2012, 5:08 GMT)

What about bringing NSW down to there current level, isn't there a charge ready to use for that?

Posted by NAP73 on (December 28, 2012, 4:51 GMT)

Goon on Brett Lee. Australian cricket management in general is pathetic, especially if cannot heed constructive criticism. Those so-called by-laws just inhibit freedom of speech. It is ridiculous.

Posted by warnerbasher on (December 28, 2012, 4:46 GMT)

NSW is to Australian cricket as South Africa is to English cricket

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 4:31 GMT)

Hats off to Brett. Shows true class and love for NSW cricket trying to effect positive change by standing by his comments. Disciplining a bloke for calling a spade a spade is indicative that Cricket NSW is currently more interested in saving face instead of fronting up and admitting that they have made a lot of mistakes in the past few years. Ultimately in any organization that's doing poorly shouldn't the responsibility of poor performance lie with the head (Gilbert) who allowed the bad decision making to continue as well as being the person that hired Stuart? If you can't take responsibility for your actions then how is it possible to expect change and head in the right direction.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 4:23 GMT)

It is a very good initiative by brett lee for the betterment of CNSW. He should be proud. He is respected enough to have his opinion.

Posted by littleduck on (December 28, 2012, 3:46 GMT)

Can't see how his comments are detrimental to the game or unbecoming. They might be detrimental to the NSW administration but that's a different matter. No-one can doubt his motives or the experience that underpins his comments. Australian cricket needs well-informed and high quality people like Brett Lee to stay engaged and express their views. Hitting hm with a charge simply shows that the administration is not strong enough to accept critique. Pity.

Posted by drinks.break on (December 28, 2012, 3:31 GMT)

I find it difficult to see how anyone could consider Lee to have brought the game "into disrepute". The greater act of disrepute would have been CNSW's dumping of Stuart without apparent cause or explanation. It's keeping silent in such circumstances, not speaking out, that fosters unsavoury speculation and damages the game's reputation.

That only leaves the question of "harm/detriment to the interest of the game", which surely can't be judged without a suitable lapse of time in which it can be fairly assessed as to whether Lee's comments have actually damaged the game, or if they have, in fact, done what he has said he intended by them, namely, to strengthen NSW cricket.

In other words, if Lee is disciplined for his comments, the only conclusion I can reach is that it will have been a triumph of politics over justice.

Posted by Captain_Oblivious on (December 28, 2012, 2:00 GMT)

Whoa, just saw Brett Lee on the Cricket Show and he's not backing down from his statements! Good on him I say, having the balls to stand up and trying to make a difference even if it's against his own interests. Also, what is it with CA (and most sporting bodies in the modern world for that matter) that can't stand any form of dissent or expression of opinion? These corporate types live in a sterilised world where everyone tows the party line, where players give the most boring, anodyne interviews that make you want to sleep. Oh, and Dave Gilbert is the worst Australian bowler to take the new ball in Tests in my 32 years watching this great game (just shows how bad the team was in the mid-80s seeing Gilbert given more than one Test). Administrators rarely have to answer for poor management it seems. Go Brett!

Posted by pr3m on (December 28, 2012, 1:40 GMT)

But it's his opinion, how is that detrimental to the game or harmful to its interests? This is trying to stifle an individual's right to express himself. I might be wrong, but I think if Lee gets fined, he could have a case in court.

Posted by   on (December 28, 2012, 0:46 GMT)

His comments are hardly detrimental to the game, rather they are probably beneficial to the game. Cricket administration is very poor in Australia, almost but not quite as bad, as the Australian selectors horrible performance over the last 5 or 6 years.

Posted by I-Like-Cricket on (December 28, 2012, 0:44 GMT)

Ahhh Brett Lee was clearly correct in what he was saying. Why else would they even consider this against one of their best players of the last 10-20 years?

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Daniel BrettigClose
Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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