Cricketer fined after asking female interviewer on a date
Cricketer Chris Gayle was fined but avoided suspension for making inappropriate comments to a woman reporter in a live TV interview during a match in Australia.
After scoring 41 from 15 deliveries for the Melbourne Renegades in a win over the Hobart Hurricanes, the former West Indies captain suggested to television reporter Mel McLaughlin that the pair go out for a drink and made remarks about her appearance.
He added: "Don't blush, baby", during an awkward pause in the interview.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland last night joined the criticism of Gayle's suggestive comments, saying it bordered on harassment.
Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry reacted by fining Gayle AUD$10,000.
"It was done in jest but it's inappropriate," Mr Coventry said. "We had a look at some history and ... we think that this is a one-off scenario."
Mr Coventry said Gayle was "quite surprised" when informed of the fine, which will be donated to charity.
Mr Sutherland said Gayle "got it badly wrong last night".
"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," he said.
"We are working incredibly hard to ensure cricket is a sport for all Australians - men and women, boys and girls - and we just won't tolerate behaviour that undermines that."
Mr Sutherland said that because the Renegades had sanctioned Gayle, the veteran batsman would not face further action from Cricket Australia for this incident.
Coventry and Gayle both apologised to Ms McLaughlin, with the player defending his comments, saying they were a "simple joke".
"There wasn't anything meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel. If she felt that way, I'm really sorry for that," Gayle was quoted as saying by Australian Associated Press. "There wasn't any harm meant in that particular way.
Ms McLaughlin said she accepted the apology and wanted to put the episode behind her, adding that she'd prefer to be talking about cricket.