The Big Bash is all fun and games until a big dopey, egotistical, sexist West Indian bloke crosses a line. That's what happened Monday night at the Hobart Hurricanes versus Melbourne Renegades match at Blundstone Arena in Hobart.
Renegades opening batsman Chris Gayle had just been dismissed for a quickfire 41. The first line he crossed was the boundary rope as he trooped off the field. The second line he crossed was the important one.
When interviewed on the sideline by Channel Ten's well-respected and highly personable sports journalist and anchor Mel McLaughlin, Gayle said some things which no self-respecting bloke would say in front of a TV audience in excess of a million people. In fact no self-respecting bloke would say it to anyone.
The really offensive bit was this:
"Hopefully we can win this game and have a drink after. Don't blush, baby".
— Charlie Cook (@charlie_cook09) January 4, 2016
At this point, social media just about went into meltdown. Things that had already melted refroze and melted again. Channel Ten at first tweeted the offensive part of the interview without comment. But the network soon changed its tune and issued this apology on Twitter:
Well played to our very own @Mel_Mclaughlin for staying professional during the interview. What a pro 👊— TEN Sport (@tensporttv) January 4, 2016
Channel Ten's Mark "Howie" Howard issued a live, highly commendable apology on behalf of pretty much everyone immediately afterwards. It sounded a little like a response to an order that had come from upstairs, but it also sounded genuine -- so well played Howie and well played Ten.
Big Bash league boss Anthony Everard called the comments "disrespectful and simply inappropriate":
Statement re Chris Gayle on air comments tonight. pic.twitter.com/Zq6xn8fquW— Anthony Everard (@BigBashLeagueHQ) January 4, 2016
Even popular Channel 10 commentator Freddie Flintoff joined the chorus of condemnation.
It's just a shame that in a week dominated by the Jamie Briggs affair and the Peter Dutton text in the wake of the Jamie Briggs affair, another bloke has gone out there and treated women with not even close to the level of respect they deserve.
Gayle, 35, has strong form as an egotist. In a column last weekend promoting a Big Bash game, he declared that rival batsman Kevin Pietersen was "no match for me".
That sort of thing paints him as a bit of a tosser but a loveable, entertaining tosser. Where he becomes a Grade A tosspot worthy of widespread derision is when he takes that enormous size XXXL ego and assumes it makes him irresistible to women.
Worst of all, he's done it before. Yeah we get it Chris. You'e a big tall bloke and a famous sportsman so you think you can ask anyone out.
Fortunately the world doesn't work that way when you come up against people with the dignity and class of Mel McLaughlin. It's the Big Bash, Chris Gayle, not the Big Pash.