How Australian media has over-sensationalised Chris Gayle's on-air comments
What has transpired in the past odd week or so has been made increasingly controversial by the Australian media, more than what the victim Mel McLaughlin or even Chris Gayle would have wanted.
The fact that both Gayle and McLaughlin admitted it was an out-of-bounds incident and McLaughlin made it clear in an interview, she wants to move away from the controversy and continue doing her job, the story has been unusually turned into a case of high-handedness by the Australian media, who seems hell-bent on caricaturing a top player for a comment, which was inevitably not meant for sexual harassment.
Though many would admit Gayle crossed his limit and it was true but in all sense, as he clarified later on, was never meant to harm McLaughlin’s reputation. The fact that McLaughlin is a senior, valued member of Channel Ten, and previously had her stint with Fox Sports, the Australian media did not leave a stone unturned in reprimanding the Caribbean player.
Initially, everyone was happy with Gayle being fined 10000$ for his derogatory remark, but ever since it was put on board the fine would go directly to McGrath foundation, the Aussie media took the opportunity to spell doubts amongst the public if the fine was too meager. Suddenly everybody was on, calling it a minor punishment in the face of such an embarrassment, and voiced their message that Gayle is barely worthy enough to play the league.
In the midst of such a crisis, Fairfax throws more weight into the controversy, publishing claims that Gayle has allegedly exposed himself in front of a female journalist during the 2015 World Cup. The spontaneity with which Gayle has rubbished the claims and declared he would sue Fairfax media with immediate effect brings glimpses of exactly how opportunist the Australian media is. If the claims published by Fairfax turn out defamatory, Australian media should stand red-faced for their double-standards.
Maria Sharapova, everybody by now knows her name, was in the midst of such a flirting encounter with an Australian journo, following her loss to Dominika Cibulkova, in the fourth round of Australian Open 2014. Sharapova was asked, how long it took for her to get over the disappointment, in response to which, she started saying how much esteem she has for him and that she admired his charm.
Well whether it is tennis or cricket, both incidents have got many similarities, the only difference being the journo was female for Chris Gayle’s interview while for Sharapova. a male asked her the question. The thing here is that the earlier incident almost got spotless, till lately it came to Chris Gayle’s defense.
The male journalist who received such an awkward answer from the Russian did not blush, nor did he remain flummoxed. He quickly showed his hand at impressing Sharapova with a quick appropriate answer, ‘I admire yours’. What that meant was that the incident was taken on a friendly scale.
Here, simply out of the reason, Mel McLaughlin stood awkward without an appropriate answer, and soon scurried away feeling shameful, made the situation bit too derogatory than it should have been. Now it is true that Sharapova did not ask the journalist to have a drink after her conference, and in that sense, Gayle was somewhat naive, but both of them did not directly answer the question put before them.
When Ponting was fined for misbehaving with girls in India
Next incident went somewhat unnoticed after it happened. It involved one of the modern greats- Ricky Ponting.
It was way back in 1998 when Australia toured India. As per the details, as reported in several Indian papers, Ponting was thrown out of the Equinox bar in Kolkata for misbehaving with several girls. He was later fined and he apologized for the same. Though there was no Big Bash at that time, yet he went on to win three World Cups after that.
What Ian Chappell said a couple of days ago, ’I wouldn’t have a problem if Cricket Australia said to the clubs, ‘he’s never to be contracted again in this country', proposing Gayle should be banned from International or franchise cricket indefinitely, does not seem to hold good if Ponting can play another fourteen years after the incident,
We just wonder why the Indian media did not heavily reprimand the Aussie back then and left him off only with a fine.
So, especially after the woman who took centre-stage in the recent controversy asked everybody to leave the incident away, and focus on the Big Bash, why is the Australian media showing its snarky hypocrisy, as if trying to prove Australians have a great sense of gender equality and respect for ‘opposition’ and opposite sex.