Let’s get this out of the way.
Chris Gayle said that he tried to reach Mel McLaughlin and apologise for these comments below. Let’s take it on face value that at some stage, he will manage to succeed in doing so:
Although some are saying that it was nothing more that just a little bit of “banter”, and I admit it was my initial reaction, it’s clearly an indefensible position given McLaughlin is quoted as being “angry and upset”.
To read more on the gender issue, read this brilliant piece by ESPNCricinfo’s Dan Brettig.
However, with a wider brush, one could make an argument that cricket administrators share in the blame for what has occurred.
Chris Gayle has form.
Neroli Meadows said that Gayle has hit on her more than once.
Melinda Farrell says it happened to her also.
Listen to how it affects them in this ABC interview.
I dare you to hear that and still think that this “banter” was ok.
Gayle has West Indian team mates who also engage in this type of behaviour.
For example, here’s Dwayne Bravo to Mel McLaughlin:
In 2014, Gayle was also asked by a female Jamaican reporter “How does the pitch feel so far in terms of the training and the weather?”
Gayle replied with “Well, I haven’t touched yours yet so I don’t know how it feels.”
Gayle is known to use Twitter to post comments about his sex life, his womanising and that he has recently installed a stripper pole in his home.
Type “Chris Gayle Women” into google if you need to see more.
The outcries of sexism over the latest McLaughlin incident have been strong, and rightly so.
But how have the cricket or broadcast authorities taken a stand with Gayle in the past?
Where has been the united stand that says we don’t condone this type of behaviour?
If Gayle has such a history with this, why was he even recruited by the Renegades and why are Channel Ten using him as a prop?
If the morals of the brands involved (Big Bash, Renegades, Cricket Australia) and tenants of basic human decency are so ingrained in cricket, then why is Gayle even playing in the Big Bash?
How is it that the same Channel Ten commentators in the box who giggled like schoolgirls when Gayle made his comments about McLaughlin also only moments before were referring to a probable Gayle injury due to his groin muscle being “overworked”.
Perhaps more offensive is that Channel Ten have bumped Mel from being their best host to a boundary rider. It can’t be on performance, so why?
The stances taken by many in authority are lacking consistency of message.
On one hand it is ok to take the risk that he may say something stupid. On the other, mass condemnation when he slips up.
On one hand it is ok to make jokes about his sexual escapades. On the other, when he falls into character, all hell breaks loose.
Here’s some more examples:
Last year, the Renegades decided that reaching out to young girls with a tagline that “looking fantastic” was the most important message they should take away.
Is this the best way for cricket to help a brand sell swimwear?
So yes, Chris Gayle said something that was inappropriate, disrespectful and stupid….again.
But the blame must also lie with others who knew that these risks existed and took them anyhow.
If cricket truly want to make a stand against this type of thing, then cricket administrators and broadcasters need to do it properly.
Don’t allow people to push the boundary on this issue with words, comments or advertising.
Because until that happens, you are only making a stand on the issue when it suits.
Currently, events like the one that happened with Chris Gayle are avoidable risks that cricket and broadcasters are accepting.
Therefore, people like James Sutherland, Channel Ten producers and Renegades management are also to blame.