Big Bash League player Chris Gayle says his attempt to ask a female journalist out for a drink during a live TV interview last night was “a simple joke” and not meant to offend.
The West Indian batsman, playing for the Melbourne Renegades, belted 41 off 15 balls and after his innings, was being interviewed on the sideline by Mel McLaughlin when he commented on her eyes, adding “Hopefully we can win this game and have a drink after. Don’t blush baby.”
McLaughlin replied she wasn’t blushing but seemed visibility uncomfortable as the interview continued and Gayle once again commented on her eyes.
Ten’s head of sport David Barham told 3AW this morning that he rang McLaughlin immediately after the interview and said “she was angry and she was upset”.
“She was asking him legitimate questions about cricket and he turned it into talking about her eyes. She was a bit taken aback, embarrassed.”
Gayle’s comments were condemned by Cricket Australia and BBL boss Anthony Everard who said they were “disrespectful and simply inappropriate”.
Channel 10 also distanced itself from Gayle and said it would no longer use him in live commentary.
The cricketer spoke to the media today in Melbourne, saying: “There wasn’t anything meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel. If she felt that way, I’m really sorry for that.”
He said there “wasn’t any harm done” and there “wasn’t any harm meant in that particular way”.
He argued that most people thought it was a joke, including the 10 Sports team, which initially tweeted his comment with the hashtag #smooth, before deleting it.
“Things get out of proportion but these things happen,” Gayle said.
It’s not the first time Gayle has attempted to flirt with a female journalist. He tried the same during an interview three years ago with Jessica Yates on Fox Sports.
And last week in Sydney, Gayle’s t-shirt seemed to say it all:
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