Melbourne, Jan 5: Renegades batsman Chris Gayle free to play in Melbourne derby after club slaps giant fine on Jamaican for comments to Mel McLaughlin, reports cricket.com.au.
Melbourne Renegades opener Chris Gayle has been fined $10,000 by his KFC Big Bash League club following comments he made in an interview with Network Ten reporter Mel McLaughlin.
The Jamaican apologised earlier today for what he labelled a “simple joke” that left McLaughlin “embarrassed, angry and upset” after a boundary line interview during Monday night’s KFC Big Bash League match in Hobart.
Gayle said his comments had been “blown way out of proportion” after he awkwardly suggested he and McLaughlin “should go out for a drink” after the match was over.
His uncomfortable and awkward advances where swiftly defused by McLaughlin, with the Jamaican then telling the reporter “don’t blush, baby”.
The money from Gayle’s fine will be donated to the McGrath Foundation in recognition of Jane McGrath Day at the SCG today.
The fine leaves Gayle free to play in the Renegades next fixture, the highly anticipated Melbourne derby rematch with city rivals the Melbourne Stars.
“Chris’s comments were completely inappropriate and disrespectful. There is simply no place for these type of comments at the Melbourne Renegades,” Renegades CEO Stuart Coventry said in a statement.
“The club would like to extend a formal apology to Mel McLaughlin. 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.
“We’ve had several discussions with Chris over the past day and he has acknowledged that his comments were out of line. We would also like to formally apologise to our members, supporters and the wider public for offence caused. The club is based on values of respect towards every member of the community.
“As a result of his comments, the Renegades have fined Chris $10,000 for inappropriate conduct.”
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said the donation of the fine to the McGrath Foundation was “fitting”, adding that the organisation “just won’t tolerate behaviour that undermines that ambition (to make cricket a sport for all Australians)”.
Sutherland confirmed there would be no further sanctions for Gayle under CA’s Code of Behaviour, but a repeat offence would have dire repercussions.
“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,” Sutherland said.
Gayle made his apology at Melbourne airport to a huge media scrum, defending his comments as a “simple joke” that had been “blown out of proportion”.
“A lot of things have flared up from a simple comment, a joke, a simple joke on air and it seemed to went out of proportion,” Gayle said on his return from Hobart.
“There wasn’t anything at all meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel and if she felt that way I’m really sorry for that.
“There wasn’t any harm meant in that particular way to any particular person like that.
“It was a simple joke, the game was going on. Entertainment, things get out of proportion but these things do happen.
“There wasn’t any harm done, I’ll leave it at that. I’m sorry for that, we’ll have to move on.”
Asked if he had the chance to apologise directly to McLaughlin, Gayle said he had not had the chance to contact her.
Asked why McLaughlin should be made to feel uncomfortable in her workplace, Gayle ended the interview with “Have a good day”.
CA CEO James Sutherland and Big Bash League boss Anthony Everard had earlier joined in the chorus of condemnation for the West Indian import.
At a press conference in Sydney, Sutherland said Gayle’s comments could be construed as workplace harassment.
“It’s not a nightclub, and I think one of the things that perhaps hasn’t dawned on everyone is it’s actually a workplace,” Sutherland said.
“Those sort of comments border on harassment.
“Anyone that sees the humour in that is misunderstanding and somewhat delusional about the situation.
“It’s a workplace situation, it’s inappropriate and it’s very, very public. That just goes to the point about how inappropriate and just not cool that is.”
Ten’s Head of Sport David Barham said he immediately rang McLaughlin after the interview.
“She was angry and she was upset. She was doing her best to get an insightful interview about the cricket, that’s what her job is,” Barham told 3AW.
“She was asking him legitimate questions about cricket and he turned it into talking about her eyes. She was a bit taken aback, embarrassed. I thought it was a bit demeaning.
“I talked to her for four or five minutes and she was pretty composed really and agreed we just have to get on with the game and that’s what she did. I thought she handled it brilliantly.”
Barham said he also rang Ten’s match caller Mark Howard to explain the network’s position, prompting Howard to make an on-air statement about the incident later in the match.
“When I called Howie (match caller Mark Howard) and explained to him what had been said and he said they were a bit stunned and taken aback by what had been said and not really sure what to do,” Barham said on SEN radio.
“I spoke to him and said this is our position and I want you to get on and say it and he wanted to do it. I’m glad that what we did in the end was to have the time to talk too Howie and he could prepare what he had to say – and I took him out of the coverage for an over to talk him through what we stand for.”
Gayle will now prepare for Saturday’s Melbourne derby against the Stars at Etihad Stadium, where his side will be without instrumental skipper Aaron Finch and the experienced Matthew Wade, who have both been named in Australia’s 13-man squad for the upcoming ODI series against India.
Paceman Peter Siddle has also been ruled out for the rest of the tournament, while the availability of Test quick James Pattinson will be assessed after the concurrent third Test in Sydney. The Victorian was not selected in Australia’s ODI squad.
Test wicketkeeper Peter Nevill will return for the derby in place of Wade, while Tom Cooper and Ben McDermott are in line to replace Finch at the top of the order, with Cameron White to take over the captaincy against his former team.
“I’m disappointed that I can’t play that return leg,” Finch told reporters after Monday’s win, which followed three successive losses.
“But at the same time I would never give up playing cricket for Australia.”
Balancing the scales for Saturday’s match will be the absence of Stars players James Faulkner, Scott Boland and Glenn Maxwell who have also received call ups to Australia’s ODI team.