West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has claimed his controversial remarks to a female TV reporter during a pitch-side interview was a “simple joke” that had been blown “out of proportion”.
Gayle asked Channel 10 journalist Mel McLaughlin out for a drink before saying "don't blush baby" as she quizzed him following the Melbourne Renegades’ win at Monday night’s Big Bash League match in Australia.
“To see your eyes for the first time is nice,” the 36-year-old said.
“Hopefully we can have a drink afterwards. Don’t blush, baby,” he added. Ms McLaughlin was reportedly left angry and upset by the remarks.
But Gayle said there “wasn’t any harm done” by his comments, but walked out after after he was questioned by a female reporter about having made Ms McLaughlin feel uncomfortable.
Speaking to reporters at Melbourne airport on Tuesday, he said he had not meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Ms McLaughlin.
"A lot of things have flared up from a simple comment, a joke, a simple joke on air and it seemed to went out of proportion," he said.
"There wasn't anything at all meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel and if she felt that way I'm really sorry for that.
"There wasn't any harm meant in that particular way to any particular person like that.
"It was a simple joke, the game was going on. Entertainment, things get out of proportion but these things do happen.
"There wasn't any harm done, I'll leave it at that. I'm sorry for that, we'll have to move on."
When asked by Seven News journalist Kate Jones why Ms McLaughlin should feel uncomfortable in the workplace, the cricketer asked: “Did she tell you that?”
“She told her boss,” Ms Jones replied, before Mr Gayle responded with, “All right, have a good day,” before walking off, the Daily Mail reported.
Mr Gayle has been fined $10,000 (£5,000) for the incident and his comments have been condemned by his team’s chief executive, Stuart Coventry.
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“Chris’ comments were completely inappropriate and disrespectful," he said.
"There is simply no place for these types of comments at the Melbourne Renegades.
"The club would like to extend a formal apology to Mel McLaughlin. We think of her very highly and the club and players will ensure we work with her in a professional and respectful manner in future.
"We've had several discussions with Chris over the past day and he has acknowledged that his comments were out of line."
Additional reporting by agenciesReuse content