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August 7, 2006
Dean Jones, the former Australia Test batsman turned TV commentator, has been sacked by his employers, Ten Sports, after being heard calling Hashim Amla a 'terrorist' on live television during the fourth day's play between Sri Lanka and South Africa at Colombo.
When Amla, who is a devout Muslim, took the catch to dismiss Kumar Sangakkara, Jones was heard to say "the terrorist has got another wicket".
"The switchboards of both Cricket South Africa and SuperSport, that takes a feed of the broadcast to South African audiences, have been jammed with calls from some very angry people," Gerald Majola, Cricket South Africa's chief executive, said.
Shortly after Majola's statement was released Jones was spotted at Colombo airport where he made a statement to journalists. "I'm gone, I'm on the 1am flight," he admitted. "It was a silly and completely insensitive thing to say and, obviously, it was never supposed to be heard over the air. I am truly sorry to have caused offence to anybody and the last thing I intended was to be disrespectful.
"Everyone needs to get away from perpetuating the myth, publicly and privately, that beards associated with the Muslim faith are somehow suspicious, and I intend to do exactly that. The irony is that I am great friends with most of the Pakistan team and they are all Muslims.
"I have no end of respect for the Muslim faith - that's why I'm so sorry at making such a stupid comment," he said. "It does not represent who I am, how I think or what I believe. I will be the first person to apologise to Hashim as soon as I get the chance, and I will assure him that prejudice against anybody, on any basis, is unacceptable and not something I will ever condone."
Majola added that "this kind of insulting racial stereotyping has no place in cricket and must be stamped on swiftly. The ICC has strongly condemned racism and we will be discussing the matter with them."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.