Former West Indies Cricket Captain, Chris Gayle, drew stringent criticism for carelessly asking out a reporter during an interview on live television.
When Gayle was dismissed while playing for Melbourne Renegades in the T20 Big Bash League, Mel McLaughlin asked him about his aggressive batting. He flirted with her on live television, saying he liked her eyes and hoped to catch a drink with her after the game. “Don’t blush, baby”, he added when Mel didn’t respond to his comment.
McLaughlin dismissed him with a light “I’m not blushing”, but sports authorities and local media was quick to criticize Gayle on his unprofessional conduct and inappropriate comments.
Gayle later apologized, saying, “There wasn’t anything meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel. If she felt that way, I’m really sorry for that,” But his apology has not been well received in media or by authorities.
“Those comments are completely out of line. It’s not a nightclub — it’s actually a workplace, it’s Chris Gayle’s workplace and it’s Mel McLaughlin’s workplace and those comments border on harassment and are inappropriate for cricket and inappropriate for the workplace,” said James Sutherland, chief of Cricket Australia.
The incident has been instrumental in pointing out the dearth of female reporters in Australian sports. It has also brought into focus how common this kind of behavior is in the field of sports and the need to bring more professionalism among athletes regarding this.
“The Melbourne Renegades is all about its appeal to kids, families and females,” said Coventry, chief executive of Melbourne Renegades. “We’ll certainly be talking to him in association with Cricket Australia about it”.