Gayle apologises for 'simple joke'
Journalist Mel McLaughlin left 'angry and upset' as Melbourne Renegades import says comments have been 'blown out of proportion'
5 January 2016, 09:57 AM AEST
Chris Gayle has apologised for his "simple joke" that left Network Ten reporter Mel McLaughlin "embarrassed, angry and upset" during a boundary line interview at last night's KFC Big Bash League match.
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.
WATCH: Gayle addresses the media briefly at Melbourne airport
"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 at Melbourne airport this morning 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.
Chris Gayle at Melbourne airport on Tuesday morning
"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 tried to contact the reporter but had been unable to reach her.
Asked why McLaughlin should be made to feel uncomfortable in her workplace, Gayle ended the interview with "Have a good day".
Gayle's uncomfortable and awkward advances on Monday night were swiftly defused by McLaughlin with the Jamaican then telling the reporter, "Don't blush, baby".
Watch: McLaughlin accepts Gayle's apology
Renegades chief executive officer Stuart Coventry said the club would look to sanction Gayle.
"On behalf of the franchise we want to apologise to Mel and hope she didn't feel uncomfortable in her professional environment," Coventry said.
"She's a wonderful sports reporter and she doesn't deserve that.
"Over the coming days we'll look for some type of internal sanction for Chris for the comments he did make so he won't do those things again."
WATCH: Gayle 'not cool' says Sutherland
Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland was scathing and 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 told reporters in Sydney
"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."
The interview provoked an immediate outburst on social media.
Barham defended the actions of the Ten's commentary team, who were heard to initially laugh as Gayle made his advances.
"Live broadcasts are really noisy, there's producers talking in your ear so I think the guys upstairs didn't hear it as clearly as they should have and didn't really understand the repercussions of it when it happened," Barham said on SEN.
"I don't think any of them were laughing about it, they're often laughing at the most inane things all the time, so they could have been laughing about anything.
"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.
"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."
Mark Howard responds to Gayle's comments
Barnham said Gayle would no longer be used by the network to wear an on-field microphone or helmet-cam to provide unique insight into the game during a live broadcast.
The network will, however, continue to interview Gayle for his on-field performances, and Barham said he would not hesitate to have McLaughlin on duty for future Renegades games.
"We’ll do interviews like we would any professional broadcast. If he’s the man of the match or the best player we’ll do interviews with him and I’d have no problems sending Mel back to do it," Barham said.
"But I don’t think we’ll be mic’ing him up on the field and talking to him and using helmet cameras with him, no.
"There’s plenty of great cricketers in the Big Bash, plenty of great Australians doing really well in the Big Bash and I’d rather have one of those."
Barham also addressed Ten's Twitter post immediately after the interview which included the hashtag #smooth.
"What happened there, that was an inexperienced social media producer and he made a mistake," Barham told SEN.
"He's been spoken to and he's very regretful of what he's done and he's upset about it.
"But it was gone within 10 minutes and that's because he realised himself that he did the wrong thing."
Anthony Everard, Head of the BBL, who was in Hobart, says Gayle’s actions have no place in the league or the sport in general.
"I heard Chris’s comments and they’re disrespectful and simply inappropriate," Everard said.
"We’ll certainly be talking to him and the Renegades about it. This league is all about its appeal to kids, families and females.
"There's just no place in the BBL – or, for that matter, cricket anywhere – for that sort of behaviour."
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