MELBOURNE RENEGADES BATSMAN Chris Gayle has come in for strong criticism for asking a reporter Mel McLaughlin on a date during a live interview.
Live on air, Gayle – who later insisted he was just joking — said he was happy to be interviewed by McLaughlin “just to see your eyes for the first time”.
“Nice, so hopefully we can win this game and we can have a drink after,” he said.
“Don’t blush baby,” the Jamaican added, prompting the unimpressed McLaughlin to shake her head and reply, “I’m not blushing”.
“Sorry,” added Gayle, breaking into a big laugh.
Following the Gayle’s advances, McLaughlin briefly continues with the interview.
The criketer has been fined A$10,000 (€6, 660) for”inappropriate conduct” follwing the incident.
Cricket authorities condemned Gayle as “completely out of line”.
Cricket Australia and Big Bash League officials did not see the funny side of what Gayle later said was meant as a joke.
When the live feed reverted back to the studio, McLaughlin’s male colleagues praised her for her for being a professional and said that Gayle’s action was inappropriate.
Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland offered support for McLaughlin, saying that no one should have to face such comments which were “completely out of line” and “inappropriate for the workplace”.
He said Gayle was not in a “nightclub” and his behaviour was “not cool”.
“I think that anyone who sees humour in that is misunderstanding and somewhat delusional about the situation,” Sutherland added.
With the governing body leaving open a threat of sanctions, the Renegades quickly announced a fine.
Club CEO Stuart Coventry said the money would be donated to the Jane McGrath foundation, named after legendary fast bowler Glenn’s late wife who died of breast cancer.
Coventry offered a formal apology “for the offence caused” to McLaughlin and fans.
“We think this is a one-off scenario,” he said, describing the exchange as “a cultural indifference… done in jest”.
The live chat-up has caused quite a stir on social media.
What do you think? Harmless fun said in jest or inappropriate behaviour?
Poll: Do you think people overreacted to the interview?