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Network Ten's Head of Sport explains deleted Tweet and defends commentators

David Barham explains the tweet and also the reaction of Ten's commentary team, who were initially laughing after Gayle's remark.

Chris Gayle
Gayle’s smile vanished after his interview and response it received

Ten's Head of Sport David Barham defends the commentary team, explains the tweet and talks about why Chris Gayle will not be asked to wear an on-field microphone or helmet-cam after his on-air comments to Mel McLaughlin after his whirlwind 41 against Hobart Hurricanes.the interview, reports cricket.com.au.

Barham told 3AW that he had called McLaughlin immediately after the interview and admitted that she was “angry and upset” but was still composed.

"She was angry and she was upset. She was doing her best to get an insightful interview about the cricket, that’s what her job is," Barham said. "She was asking him legitimate questions about cricket and he turned it into talking about her eyes. She was a bit taken aback, embarrassed. I thought it was a bit demeaning.

"I talked to her for four or five minutes and she was pretty composed really and agreed we just have to get on with the game and that’s what she did. I thought she handled it brilliantly.”

About the tweet that was put out by the network, which described Gayle’s comments as “#smooth" and almost immediately deleted, Barham told SEN it was a “mistake”.

"What happened there, that was an inexperienced social media producer and he made a mistake,” he said. "He's been spoken to and he's very regretful of what he's done and he's upset about it.

"But it was gone within 10 minutes and that's because he realised himself that he did the wrong thing.”

He also came to the aid of the commentary team, who were initially laughing when Gayle made that remark and said they didn’t hear it clearly initially.

"Live broadcasts are really noisy, there's producers talking in your ear so I think the guys upstairs didn't hear it as clearly as they should have and didn't really understand the repercussions of it when it happened," Barham said.

"I don't think any of them were laughing about it, they're often laughing at the most inane things all the time, so they could have been laughing about anything.

"When I called Howie (match caller Mark Howard) and explained to him what had been said and he said they were a bit stunned and taken aback by what had been said and not really sure what to do.

"I spoke to him and said this is our position and I want you to get on and say it and he wanted to do it. I'm glad that what we did in the end was to have the time to talk too. Howie and he could prepare what he had to say - and I took him out of the coverage for an over to talk him through what we stand for.”

While he also added that the West Indian opener would no longer be required to provide insight during a live broadcast with the use of either an on-field microphone or helmet-cam, he did admit that they will continue to interview him and would not hesitate to have McLaughlin on duty for any future matches featuring the Renegades.

"We’ll do interviews like we would any professional broadcast. If he’s the man of the match or the best player we’ll do interviews with him and I’d have no problems sending Mel back to do it," Barham said.

"But I don’t think we’ll be mic’ing him up on the field and talking to him and using helmet cameras with him, no. There’s plenty of great cricketers in the Big Bash, plenty of great Australians doing really well in the Big Bash and I’d rather have one of those.”

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