Big Bash League 2015-16 January 5, 2016

Renegades under pressure to sanction Gayle

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'Gayle comments border on harassment' - Sutherland

Chris Gayle's BBL paymasters, the Melbourne Renegades, are under pressure to discipline their highest profile player after what the Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland called "borderline harassment" of the Ten Network presenter Mel McLaughlin during last night's match in Hobart.

Cricket Australia and Renegades officials were in dialogue throughout the afternoon, and Sutherland said he would not rule out sanctions when questioned on possible consequences for Gayle. "I'm not ruling out sanctions," Sutherland said. "We have to work through and take advice from relevant people as to what the right approach is going to be, but it's too early to say given that this happened late last night."

Should CA be discontent with the Renegades' response, it is within their power to discipline Gayle as a player contracted to play in an authorised competition. Sutherland also said that CA were waiting to see how Gayle himself responded to events, but a doorstop at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport suggested that contrition was not exactly at the forefront of his mind.

"There wasn't anything meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel. If she felt that way, I'm really sorry for that," Gayle said. "There wasn't any harm meant in that particular way, to harm any particular person in any particular way like that. It was a simple joke - the game was going on. Things get out of proportion but these things happen."

More proportional were Sutherland's words, which underlined his irritation at the actions of a star player in a competition designed to help strengthen cricket's appeal to women. "I think it's a pretty significant mishit by Chris Gayle," Sutherland said. "Those comments are completely out of line and inappropriate and something that we don't in any way condone, and there's no place in cricket or the Big Bash League for those sorts of comments.

"The circumstances last night was live television and I don't think anyone should be put in the sort of position that Mel McLaughlin was put in. It's not a nightclub, and one of the things that hasn't dawned on everyone is it's actually a workplace. It's Chris Gayle's workplace, it's also Mel McLaughlin's workplace and those sorts of comments border on harassment and are completely inappropriate in cricket, inappropriate in a workplace."

McLaughlin has not spoken since the incident, and was complimented by Sutherland for the way she had handled it. "I'd just like to acknowledge the highly professional manner in which Mel McLaughlin dealt with the situation, and our thoughts are with her," he said. "I've certainly left a message for her to let her know we're absolutely supportive of her and understand the difficult predicament she was put in yesterday.

"Anyone who sees the humour in that is misunderstanding and somewhat delusional about the situation. I think they're forgetting as well that it's a workplace situation. It's inappropriate and it's very, very public. That just goes to the point about how inappropriate and 'not cool' that is."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Bigskyryza on January 6, 2016, 4:32 GMT

    sutherland is just a politically correct pen pusher, not worth wasting your time talking about him

  • Herath-US on January 6, 2016, 1:36 GMT

    "it's actually a workplace".. INDEED-Sutherland said it so and that applies to the entire Aussie team as well. rogue due-Pup and Haddin are gone now and now is the time to bring the behavior of the team in 'workplace' order.

  • Nostro on January 5, 2016, 19:39 GMT

    Australia has a long history of chauvinism. Sutherland's ridiculous response just goes to show how many Aussies still don't get it and how delusional he must be, because Gayle's comments most certainly weren't worthy of that or the similar labels Sutherland applied.

  • Sillyshortleg on January 5, 2016, 12:11 GMT

    Unknownjohnson, why don't you have a beer with Gayle instead? You are a match made in Heaven.

  • unknownjohnson on January 5, 2016, 11:48 GMT

    It was just a 'bit of banter' on Gayle's part. Aussies are creating a storm in a B-Cup. Let Gayle and Mel settle this over a beer!

  • smudgeon on January 5, 2016, 11:15 GMT

    Do you think under exactly the same circumstances but with a male journalist, Chris Gayle would have tried a few pick-up lines, or a more genuine exchange about his performance? And EMANCIPATOR007, I don't give a dingo's kidney if it were "the most marquee talismanic T20 player" or the groundskeeper. It was tacky and demeaning. The fact so many people think Chris Gayle (or any sportsperson) gets a free pass because of his ability to whack a cricket ball a country mile is the most troubling thing about this whole affair.

  • imtiazjaleel on January 5, 2016, 8:32 GMT

    I believe if she is hurt by the comments of Gayle, then he is guilty of it. maybe the same comment to another lady would have been made her happy, so it is not necessary that the comment is wrong, it depends of the person how she/he takes it.

  • ToneMalone on January 5, 2016, 8:09 GMT

    Amazed at the other user feedback, suggesting it was just a slip, that Gayle has apologised, that he should be exempted because he's under unprecedented pressure, and that we need to move on ( from the behaviour seen less than 24 hours ago). Let's recap: he's a proven repeat offender, it was out of line, his apology seemed pretty weak and he enjoys a highly privileged position - having a higher profile does not excuse demeaning comments. Sutherland was right criticising Warner's angry outbursts (he's since improved) and he's right now.

  • Sillyshortleg on January 5, 2016, 7:47 GMT

    Sadly, this was not a solitary misdemeanour and the reaction is nothing to do with Political Correctness. This is a basic issue of disrespect coupled with obvious sexual harassment. I despise PC but I also deplore basic rudeness, especially of the "why don't you just laugh it off, woman, I was only joking" variety. That's the bully's point of view. From the reports of Cricinfo's own Melinda Farrell, Neroli Meadows and even Chris Rogers, Gayle has a long record of previous infractions including several at a single press conference hosted by the Sydney Thunder, so much the case that Buck Rogers clearly regards Gayle as a boor and tried to keep away from him from then on. If it is the case that none of the WICB or the various franchises for which he has worked have done anything to educate him in basic courtesy to fellow professionals then they should be ashamed...but if they have and this is still the result then the sanction should be much more severe. What's $10,000 to him?

  • Challie on January 5, 2016, 7:30 GMT

    Well, as a West Indian, I sympathize with Chris. The error here was all cultural - West Indian guys tend to do that. I am not saying it is right. I live in the US, and I have learned not to do "the West Indian thing." When I listen to the radio stations in the Caribbean I hear it all the time. I can tell you I Love it; but it does not work everywhere. My suggestion to my Brother (and I know he is already trying to do that), is to find Mel, and apologize to her in private. Then let her know he wants another live interview, so that he can apologize on air. I know he is extremely sorry! When he explains the situation, he and Mel will probably become great friends. Then the next step, is not to let it happen again. It is always fun - until somebody gets hurt; you know what I mean? People, don't panic. Everyting ire! Hey @henrygayle keep giving them de business. Let your bat do the talking...

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