Tonight, during the Hurricanes Renegades match in Hobart, I witnessed brand destruction of a sportsperson of the highest order.
West Indian Chris Gayle must have been reading his own publicity of late as during his post innings interview with Network Ten broadcaster Mel Mclaughlin he made the decision to talk about wanting to come off the field so he could be interviewed by her and then went on to discuss looking into her eyes.
It was a piece of cringe-worthy television that Gayle will likely look back on with regret or at least I hope he does.
It was so wrong in every context and to her absolute credit Mclaughlin, a polished reporter, brushed it off although was clearly pissed off.
Imagine if a male reporter had been talked to like that while interviewing a woman sportsperson in the similar situation.
Gayle might be popular as a perceived ‘cool dude’ capable of great things as a batsman but he has clearly been caught up in his own publicity if he thought that was appropriate in such an interview.
Then to make matters worse Mark Howard, who I personally rate in his role as the host broadcaster in the BBL, went into a sanctimonious rant about the situation.
Now he was fully entitled and right to do so in defence of his colleague but having said a couple of overs earlier that Gayle’s possible groin injury he appeared to be carrying had been possibly as a result of ‘overuse’ of the groin was almost as sexist as the comment made to Mclaughlin. I think we all know where he was coming from with that unnecessary addition.
I hope both (Gayle and Howard) will be reprimanded for their lack of class in what is an otherwise brilliant product.
While the blokey nature of the commentary fits with the cut and thrust nature of T20 and is generally very entertaining, at a time when there are calls for blatant sexism to eliminated from society never mind sport I think we saw tonight there is still some way to go.