Chris Gayle Bats Away Criticisms Of Sleazy Comments, Tells Australia To 'Move On'

05/01/2016 11:52 AM AEDT | Updated 05/01/2016 5:01 PM AEDT
Channel Ten

West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle has been fined $10,000 for his inappropriate conduct during an interview with Channel Ten reporter and anchor Mel McLaughlin during Monday night's Big Bash match between the Melbourne Renegades and Hobart Hurricanes.

The money will be donated to the McGrath Foundation.

Renegades CEO Stuart Coventry said Gayle had been "overawed" by the response to the incident. Mr Coventry went on to say that Gayle "regrets his comments, definitely", and that the event had been a a "big learning curve" for the 35-year-old Jamaican.

"The club would like to extend a formal apology. Mel is an outstanding sports presenter. The club and players have ensured we'll work with her in a respectful and and professional manner in the future," Mr Coventry said.

While Chris Gayle hasn't exactly said the word "sorry" yet, Mr Coventry said that "Chris has acknowledged that his comments were out of line".

"We also would like to apologise to our members. The club is based on integrity and values of respect towards every member of the community," he added.

The decision means Gayle is free to play for the Renegades in the Melbourne Derby against the Stars on Saturday night at what is certain to be a packed Etihad Stadium.

EARLIER...

West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle has downplayed criticism of the controversial pick-up line he tried out on-camera on a female TV reporter on Monday night, telling media, "we have to move on."

Gayle, playing for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League on Monday, spoke to Channel Ten reporter Mel McLaughlin on the sidelines. He spent the "interview" flirting with her, saying, "I wanted to have an interview with you as well, that’s why I’m here," and ending with "I get to see your eyes for the first time, it’s nice. Hopefully we can win and go for a drink after."

His comments have been met with a firestorm of criticism online, accusing the star batsman of sexism and denigrating McLaughlin.

Media waited at Melbourne airport on Tuesday to meet the Renegades team, with Gayle widely expected to make an apology.

Instead, he claimed his comments had been "blown out of proportion" from what he called "a simple joke".

"There wasn't anything at all meant to be disrespectful to Mel," he claimed.

As a reporter tried to ask a follow-up question, Gayle interjected with, "Can you be quiet and let me finish?"

"There wasn't anything meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel. If she felt that way, I'm really sorry for that. There wasn't any harm meant in that particular way, to harm any particular person in any particular way like that," he continued.

"It was a simple joke. The game was going on. Entertainment, things get out of proportion but these things happen. It wasn't any harm done and like I said, I will leave it at that. I'm sorry for that. We have to move on, simple."

"I don't know how it reached this far, to be honest. It is one of those things."

Gayle claimed he had tried to reach McLaughlin to apologise personally, but had been unable to contact her.

Renegades CEO Stuart Coventry said the team would investigate sanctions against Gayle.

"I regret some of the comments that were made. I want to apologise to Mel and hope she didn't feel uncomfortable in her professional environment. She is a wonderful sports reporter and she doesn't deserve that," he said.

"We have had a number of chats with Chris and with Cricket Australia to try and clear up the matter. We have strong values at the Renegades and in the coming days we will look for an internal sanction for Chris for the comments he made so that he won't do that again."

"I am hoping Chris and Mel can get together and he can apologise to her face to face in the next 24 hours."

At a separate media conference in Sydney, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said sanctions were being investigated against Gayle, alluding to his hope Gayle would apologise for the comments.

"I understand Chris might be making some comments, public comment today at a media doorstop when he arrives back in Melbourne. It is too early to talk about that but we will be interested in any outcomes of those events in the next couple of hours," Sutherland said.

Sutherland said Cricket Australia did not condone Gayle's comments.

"I don't think at the end of all this Chris will be under any illusions as to what we think of it," he said.

"Anyone that sees the humour in that is misunderstanding and somewhat delusional about the situation. It is a workplace situation. It is inappropriate and it is very public. That just goes to the point about how inappropriate and just not cool that is."

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