Mel McLaughlin says she wants to move on.
The TV sports reporter who has been at the centre of a media storm since cricketer Chris Gayle obnoxiously hit on her on live TV on Monday night appeared on The Project to talk about the incident for the first time.
Gayle’s comments have unleashed a wave of commentary from about the sexism routinely experienced by women in sports journalism.
McLaughlin was full of her customary poise talking about the incident.
“I’m fine,” she said. “I’m a little bit uncomfortable. I’m not used to being at the centre of any sort of story, and this one certainly escalated. But I’m OK.”
Gayle has been fined $10,000 over his on-air advances, which involved him saying, “Hopefully we can win this game and have a drink after. Don’t blush, baby.”
McLaughlin said: “To be honest it’s obviously just a little bit disappointing because he’d done so well out there with the bat. It was like, 41 off 15 balls, he’d smashed these sixes and I was really excited to talk to him about that. I would have much preferred to be talking about that instead.”
McLaughlin wouldn’t go into what lessons could be drawn from the incident when asked, instead preferring to talk about how much she loves her work and wants to put the episode behind her.
“I suppose you can always learn from every experience and no doubt there’s something to take out of this,” she said. “But I know myself I’ve always found that the attitudes are extremely positive; I’ve always felt respect on the sidelines, and I know that attitudes have completely changed. There’s a certain stigma that people like to talk about with women in sport. I don’t – I haven’t felt that. I love my job and I’d just rather be talking about that. Yes, it’s meant something to a lot of female journos, men as well, and women in general. It certainly struck a chord, I guess.”
Gayle gave what was seen by many to be a half-hearted apology at Melbourne airport yesterday. “I accept that,” McLaughlin said. “I just want to move on.”
You can watch the interview at The Project.