Big Bash League 2015-16 January 5, 2016

Gayle avoids suspension over interview


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'Meant no disrespect towards reporter' - Gayle

Chris Gayle has been fined $10,000 by the Melbourne Renegades for his comments during an interview with Channel Ten journalist Mel McLaughlin during Monday night's BBL match in Hobart. The Renegades CEO Stuart Coventry announced the sanction at a press conference in Melbourne on Tuesday afternoon and said that Gayle's fine would be donated to the McGrath Foundation.

The incident was described by Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland as "borderline harassment", but the Renegades stopped short of suspending Gayle. Coventry said he believed the incident - in which Gayle used a mid-match interview to ask McLaughlin out and told her "don't blush, baby" - was a one-off.

"We had a look at some history and precedents established in the past, the circumstance that was in place this time, and we think that this is a one-off scenario," Coventry said when asked how the Renegades had decided on the fine. "We looked at Chris' attitude over the last four or five weeks in the Big Bash and we think it has been outstanding. We've come up with a fine scenario."

Sutherland said that Gayle had been left in no doubt that any repeat behaviour would result in a far heavier penalty. "I reiterate my view that Chris got it badly wrong last night," he said. "We are working incredibly hard to ensure cricket is a sport for all Australians - men and women, boys and girls - and we just won't tolerate behaviour that undermines that ambition.

"The public's damning response to his comments demonstrate just what people expect of our elite cricketers. As the sanction has been imposed by his club, CA will not be laying a charge under our Code of Behaviour, but we will be formally putting Chris on notice that if anything like this happens again in the BBL, the consequences will be far more severe."

On Tuesday, other female reporters said they had experienced similar moments with Gayle, including the Fox Sports reporter Neroli Meadows, who described Gayle as "a repeat offender". Coventry said he was "unfamiliar with what those journalists have said and the grounds behind that and the evidence behind that".

When asked if he acknowledged Gayle had had similar issues in the past, Coventry said: "Not that we've seen. We've done a fair bit of history and research today and we do think it is a one-off. As explained this morning we think it's probably more of a cultural difference, why he said it, and it was done in jest, but it was inappropriate and we've taken this course of action."

However, a similar incident had occurred during a 2014 Caribbean Premier League press conference when Gayle was asked by a female reporter how the pitch felt, to which he replied "Well I haven't touched yours yet, so I don't know how it feels". He went on to tell the reporter "I like your smile, that's nice... yeah, that's really good."

Following the incident with McLaughlin, Gayle made an apology of sorts at Melbourne airport on Tuesday morning, but he said he had been unable to speak to McLaughlin in person. Coventry said Gayle had "acknowledged that his comments were out of line" and that while he was surprised by the $10,000 fine, he had taken it well.

"The club would like to extend a formal apology to Mel McLaughlin," Coventry said. "Mel is an outstanding sports presenter. We think of her very highly, and the club and players will ensure we work with her in a professional and respectful manner in future."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Robin on January 11, 2016, 13:41 GMT

    Gayle has learnt the hard way that exchanging flirtatious banter with an attractive female on tv might come across as a charming-rogue in the Caribbean, will not wash in other countries or cultures. Bottom line is it was inappropriate and unprofessional, but at the same time the over-reaction of the implications that he was some kind of sex-pest, bordered on becoming a witch-hunt, orchestrated by humorless moralists. The overall result is that he was fined and is unlikely to do that during a tv or radio interview ever again.

  • Phillip on January 9, 2016, 9:02 GMT

    Why do people hide behind speculation and being political correct. She could have just told him that she was not interested and asked him to stick to talking cricket only, but no, this has to be blown out of proportion.

    People have lost the ability to talk straight. Everything has to be sinister - if you do not like what somebody tells you, just say that and move on. Suddenly this is now sexual harassment, which by definition is only possible from somebody in a more powerful position than the one they are harassing. The interviewer has the control and she should have kept it, by telling him off and moving on.

    so should everybody else, just move on and stop hiding behind political correctness or any other form of discrimination.

    She could have used this as an opportunity to show what a great interviewer she is, by putting Gayle in his place right there. It is the type of opportunities that do not present them to often. Opportunity missed

  • Derek on January 8, 2016, 7:41 GMT

    Here is a great opportunity for Pakistan be it at home or in the UAE..No females holding microphones, no scantily cladded cheerleader just MEN and BOYS playing and watching cricket. Chris Gayle

  • adeel on January 7, 2016, 22:44 GMT

    long live freedom of speech ... oh wait, that depends who and where that speech is made and against who :)

  • ALIENA on January 7, 2016, 10:41 GMT

    That was bad taste by Chris Gayle. One has to be respectful whether it be male or female interviewer. For one that has travelled world wide and given so many interviews, Gayle should have known better. I don't think he should be allowed to play for Australia BBL in the future..

  • Sumit on January 7, 2016, 10:39 GMT

    I'm surprised no one yet has taken the opportunity to blame the sliding moral standards on the rise of T20/IPL. If the BCCI had not unleashed the IPL evil, Gayle would've long retired and the world would have been safer for female presenters. But seriously...

    From its very beginning, T20 leagues have been a hypocritical lot. They talk of attracting female fans & family fun while adding cheerleaders as eye candy for beer guzzling lads. The whole idea was to invigorate a staid crowd into a fun party where ties & tongues were loosened with music, beer,cheerleaders,hyper commentary, franchisee events,all the razzmatazz. Remember WAGS in the Stanford lap?

    For laddish men like Gayle, the environment lulls them them into believing it's a cricket themed party for mingling with the pretty gals, not an atmosphere where office rules apply. Regrettable & predictable. This isn't an isolated incident in T20 leagues. But as it was caught 'live', broadcasters/admin had to take a PC stance.

  • nuraiz on January 6, 2016, 15:00 GMT

    Aussie media deeming Sharapova response a " cute " and CG as harassment, sexiest, gender discimination, subjugation, and all sorts of things. Biggest hypocrites in my opinion. The most appropriate thing is that next time gayle say"sorry i don't give interviews to females. "

  • Alex on January 6, 2016, 13:29 GMT

    I do not like the behaviour of CA allowing Gayle to continue. This kinda behaviour has to be treated with strong hand. Instead greed of CA is astonishing. It almost seems like there is no BBL without gayle. Just pathetic.

    Its not banter or cheeky , it is the way gayle behaves. He just escaped so far and finally he did in public.

    Every time gayle scores everyone will think how badly you can treat a woman and escape. Just bad hero to emulate.

    He should be banned from australia if you ask me.

  • kgvenk5079052 on January 6, 2016, 13:18 GMT

    This not sufficient enough for unruly cricketer his services should be terminated and ask to leave Australia at once or he should tried under sexual harassment charges under federal law, then only this type of people will learn some lesson in their life and no body is above law

  • Gary on January 6, 2016, 9:27 GMT

    If you are hired, at least partly, for your looks then does it not become a consequence that you will have them commented on. Ask yourself this, would Mel have ever been given the position as pitchside reporter - or even considered - if she was an overweight and unattractive woman? It is clear that many female sports presenters are selected because of their looks, they may well have the ability also but would a plain jane and skilled reporter ever get hired ahead of a glamorous and skilled presenter? It is all fine to be upset about sexism in the workplace, but what about talking about the issue of how these presenters are hired - clearly appearance is a major factor in the hiring.

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