Marcus Stoinis, the Melbourne Stars opening batsman, has escaped with a A$7,500 fine for a homophobic slur directed at Kane Richardson during Saturday night's BBL derby between the Stars and the Melbourne Renegades at the MCG.
At the conclusion of the Stars' victory, Stoinis was seen in lengthy conversation with Richardson, the umpires Gerard Abood and Phillip Gillespie and also the Renegades captain Aaron Finch.
Having pleaded guilty to the Cricket Australia code of conduct level two charge of using personally abusive language and apologised to Richardson, Stoinis was not banned as it was his first offence under the code in the past year.
"I got caught in the moment and took it too far," Stoinis said. "I realised immediately I was in the wrong and I apologise to Kane and to the umpires. I did the wrong thing and accept responsibility for my actions. The standards are there for a reason and I accept the penalty."
He escaped lightly by comparison with James Pattinson, who was suspended for the Brisbane Test match earlier this season as his very similar offence in a Sheffield Shield match, directing a homophobic slur towards Cameron Gannon, was his third code of conduct charge in the past 12 months.
Sean Carroll, Cricket Australia's Head of Integrity and Security, said the fine was enough of a punishment for Stoinis. "The behaviour in this matter falls short of the standards we expect and we have acted accordingly," he said. "There is no place for it in the game."
The second instance of such language being used by elite players in the Australian season follows the national team coach Justin Langer's denial that Pattinson's offence constituted homophobic language. "Clearly it wasn't a homophobic slur. That's my view," Langer said in an interview with the 2GB radio host Alan Jones in November.
"He's been penalised because he's had three strikes in 18 months. He's a terrific bowler. I love his energy, love his passion but he's got to stay calm in the contest."
Former Australia batsman Simon Katich did not believe hitting the players' pockets was the right outcome. "I'm not sure a financial punishment is the right way of going about it, given that we've had a couple of incidences of this throughout the summer now," he told SEN radio. "James Pattinson obviously had a prior record and was suspended, that probably counted for a fair bit having the prior record, but it's something I think they are pretty keen to stamp out. Not sure a financial penalty in this day in age when the players are very well looked after is that significant."
When Pattinson was suspended, Carroll had made it clear that what he had said was unacceptable. "We have a duty to uphold the highest standards of behaviour and the action taken in this matter demonstrates that," Carroll said. "On this occasion, James acknowledges he fell short of that expectation."
Pattinson, likewise, had apologised profusely. "I made a mistake in the heat of the moment," Pattinson said. "Straight away I realised I was in the wrong, and I apologised immediately, both to the opponent and to the umpires. I have done the wrong thing and accept the penalty. I'm gutted to miss a Test match, but the standards are there for a reason and the fault is mine."