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Opinion: Chris Gayle is no gentleman, but a fine is too far

Author and journalist Caroline Overington says Chris Gayle is far from a gentleman, but a fine of $10,000 for asking a female reporter out on a date while on air is a step too far.

I used to be a sports reporter. Besides being a magazine writer, it’s probably the best job in the world.

Everyone you meet is interesting and they’re all trying to do something amazing. Some of them cheat, and that’s always intriguing. Some of them fail, and that’s humbling to watch, too.

There weren’t many women sports writers back when I was doing it. Maybe one in ten of us were female, or was it one in five? Certainly some of the best were female, and certainly some were harassed by blokes, meaning: made to feel uncomfortable, while doing their jobs.

Most didn’t complain. It was like a work place hazard. Some did complain, and paid dearly for it.

My own experience was 100 per cent positive. I was never harassed or propositioned, let alone on live TV.

For those who missed it, that’s what the West Indies’ cricketer, Chris Gayle, did this week. He basically asked Ten sports reporter, Mel McLaughlin, out on a date, and told her how pretty she was, while she was trying to interview him.

Some people are saying, what’s the big deal? It’s sweet, but me, I thought: woah, that’s not cool.

She shouldn’t have to put up with that, not while she’s trying to work.

Caroline Overington

I’m hopelessly old-fashioned, but if Gayle wanted to ask her out, he should have done so politely, off camera, the way gentlemen used to do, although I gather that’s not his style.

He’s a superstar. Therefore cocky. He probably thought that Mel would and should be flattered.

Then I heard that Gayle got fined $10,000 for his little stunt, and I thought, woah, that’s pretty heavy.

Ten thousand dollars for asking a woman out on TV?

Maybe for pinching her on the bottom, or promising her an interview if only she’ll have a drink with him, but for asking her out?

To my mind, an apology was definitely in order, but it would have to be a sincere apology, and that’s where Gayle fell down. He was still joking about the event two days after it happened.

Some commentators have suggested that’s because Gayle comes from Jamaica, where that kind of thing is culturally okay, which sounds a bit racist and dubious to me, but if true, then his team, the Renegades, were right to hit him in the hip pocket, because in my old experience, money is a language all sportsmen understand.

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