Chris Gayle fined in Big Bash League reporter 'sexism' row
West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle has been fined A$10,000 ($7,200; £4,900) by his club for "inappropriate conduct" after he asked a TV reporter for a date in a live interview.
Gayle was speaking to journalist Mel McLaughlin during a Big Bash League T20 match in Hobart on Monday.
"To see your eyes for the first time is nice. Hopefully we can have a drink afterwards. Don't blush baby," he said.
Gayle has said he is sorry, but that the reaction was "out of proportion".
Apparently making light of the episode, the cricketer later tweeted a photo of an empty bed, saying he was tired.
He then said his teammate Dwayne Bravo was buying him a meal because his "pockets were empty".
He also retweeted a comment from broadcaster and cricket fan Piers Morgan, who said he was "outraged at the outrage" at Gayle being "a bit cheeky to a female TV reporter".
Social media reaction
Gayle was answering questions from Network Ten's McLaughlin after a match when he made the remark, which was widely condemned as sexist.
The former West Indies Test captain told reporters on Tuesday: "There wasn't anything meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel. If she felt that way, I'm really sorry for that.
"It was a simple joke. The game was going on. Entertainment, things get out of proportion but these things happen."
McLaughlin has said his date request was "a little bit disappointing because I'm not used to seeing that".
"I don't really want to be the subject of such conversations," she told her network.
Who is Chris Gayle?
- A Jamaican cricketer who captained the West Indies and has played for clubs in the Caribbean, England, India, Bangladesh and Australia
- Known as a big hitter, batsman Gayle has set records in the sport's various match formats and is one of only four players to have scored a triple century on more than one occasion in Test matches
- Has had various rows with West Indies Cricket, including saying he no longer wanted to be captain because of the pressure, and being dropped for criticising the coach; currently prefers playing in lucrative T20 cricket to representing the West Indies
- A confident man, he describes himself on his Twitter page as "Universe-Boss" and "Chris d Lion"
Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland said Gayle's comments could be equated with workplace harassment.
"It's not a nightclub, and I think one of the things that perhaps hasn't dawned on everyone is it's actually a workplace," he said.
Fox Sports reporter Neroli Meadows told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that Gayle had said similar things to her and several other female reporters.
"He does this constantly... He has creepy behaviour and the way he did it to Mel was just that, and Mel knew it was going to happen," she said.
Chris Rogers, Gayle's former captain at Sydney Thunder, accused him of being a bad influence on younger players.
"This is a pattern of behaviour. If you know the guy, you see it over and over," said Rogers.
"It's not just him, there's a lot of this stuff in the sporting industry, and to defend it is not right at all."
'Out of line'
The Melbourne Renegades said his comments were "completely inappropriate and disrespectful" and apologised to McLaughlin and to the public.
"Mel is an outstanding sports presenter," said Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry. "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," he said.
The A$10,000 fine will be donated to the McGrath Foundation, a breast cancer charity.
Network Ten Head of Sport David Barham said Gayle would no longer wear an on-field microphone or helmet-cam during live broadcasts.