"It wasn't meant to be disrespectful" - Chris Gayle apologies to reporter he asked on a date
Chris Gayle has been fined 10,000 dollars by his Big Bash League side Melbourne Renegades despite apologising to journalist Mel McLaughlin after asking her out for a drink during a live television interview.
The West Indian was being questioned by Channel 10 reporter McLaughlin after his dismissal for against Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL when he suggested they should go out at the end of the match.
"I wanted to see your eyes for the first time, hopefully we can win this game and then we can have a drink after as well," he said.
Gayle, 36, then added to McLaughlin: "Don't blush, baby."
The left-hander received an angry backlash for his comments and was branded "disrespectful and simply inappropriate" by head of the BBL Anthony Everard while McLaughin was reported to be "angry and upset".
Gayle insists he was joking, though, and has offered a full apology to McLaughlin.
"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 a press conference at Melbourne airport.
"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.
"There wasn't any harm done, I'll leave it at that. I'm sorry for that, we'll have to move on."
Despite the apology Gayle was sanctioned by his side and hit with a hefty fine.
Melbourne Renegades CEO Stuart Coventry said in a statement on the club website: "Chris' comments were completely inappropriate and disrespectful. There is simply no place for these type of comments at the Melbourne Renegades.
"The club would like to extend a formal apology to Mel McLaughlin. Mel is an outstanding sports presenter. We think of her very highly and the club and players will ensure we work with her in a professional and respectful manner in future.
"We've had several discussions with Chris over the past day and he has acknowledged that his comments were out of line. We would also like to formally apologise to our members, supporters and the wider public for offence caused. The club is based on values of respect towards every member of the community," said Coventry.
"As a result of his comments, the Renegades have fined Chris $10,000 for inappropriate conduct. The club will subsequently donate this amount to the McGrath Foundation in recognition of Jane McGrath day today."