By Lauren Kroell
The Big Bash League cricket tournament is a rather large and important Australian domestic cricket event. The tournament, which ends on January 24th, 2016 is in its fifth year of competition. However, most of the news following this event has not been around the performance on the field or the current teams in the lineup, but in- stead tracks one specific interview for Network Ten.
The popular television channel sent one of its reporters, Mel McLaughlin, to cover the game and interview some of the pla ers, one of them being Melbourne Renegades batter Chris Gayle. Gayle is thought to be one of the best big hitting legends in limited overs cricket and holds countless world records to his name. In the specific match McLaughlin interviewed him for, he had been doing amazingly, hitting 41 off 15 balls, and McLaughlin later stated she was “really excited to talk to him” about how he played. However, the interview took a turn that McLaughlin did not expect. After being asked about his aggressive playing that match, Gayle told McLaughlin in the interview, “I wanted to come and have an interview with you as well. That’s the reason why I’m here, just to see your eyes for the first time. It’s nice, so, hopefully we can win this game and have a drink after. Don’t blush, baby.” McLaughlin handled the situation very professionally and left quickly after the conclusion of the interview.
It is fair to say that Gayle has every right to flirt with whomever he wants but, it’s simply not businesslike to do so in an on-camera interview- especially if it’s the person he’s being interviewed by! It would have been completely in Gayle’s power to wait until the interview was concluded to say what he said, but him doing it on television to millions of people is extremely unprofessional. Gayle’s behavior of ignoring the question being asked and not giving the detailed response the interviewer deserves is disrespectful. Gayle is there to provide an insightful response to the questions he is asked, not to flirt with the first girl he sees-especially in an interview that is being nationally broadcasted! Gayle’s actions also put McLaugh- lin in an extremely awkward spot she did not deserve to get put into- even if she was able to handle the situation well.
It is a bit upsetting to see a talented and aggressive player like Gayle have his career so substantially wounded because of the controversy created by a simple statement. While his comments were both unprofessional and offensive, it isn’t fair to have your career destroyed because of a small mistake. In addition, we’ve seen many cases in the past of onscreen flirtation- specifically, with Fox Business reporter Alexis Glick, who seemed to take a liking to professional basketball player Kobe Bryant. In the interview, she stated that he was a “great guy”, that he was “so handsome” and that she was “blushing”. While her comments were toned down from Gayle’s, it is still unprofessional to flirt with those you are interviewing. Glick also received no punishment, unlike Gayle, who was fined $10,000 by the team for “inappropriate conduct.” Even though the actions are the same, Gayle got fined while Glick did not, which is certainly unfair punishment on the former’s part.
Gayle later apologized to McLaughlin, who later stated that the interview “disappointed” her because she really wanted to get Gayle’s response. However, she did accept the apology that Gayle released. Gayle learned a common but important lesson because of this incident- to think about what you say before you say it.
Photo courtesy of www.3aw.com.au