West Indian cricket star Chris Gayle has drawn sharp criticism after making a pass at Network Ten journalist Mel McLaughlin during a post-innings interview.
Chris Gayle's interview fail
Raiders triumph in golden point thriller
Swans hold off brilliant Blues
Robbie Farah: Coach defends controversial drop
Cats too potent for Crows
Saints edge wounded Dogs
Storm hold off spirited Roosters
Stephen Dank wounded in Ascot Vale
Chris Gayle's interview fail
West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle has been slammed for making 'inappropriate' comments during an interview with Network Ten journalist Mel McLaughlin.
Gayle, 36, had just been dismissed for a quickfire 41 off 15 balls in the Melbourne Renegades' comfortable win over the Hobart Hurricanes, but the live interview quickly steered away from cricket, with the opening batsman asking McLaughlin if she wanted to come out for a drink with him, before quickly adding "don't blush baby".
"I wanted to come and have an interview with you as well, that's the reason why I'm here," he began. "Just to see your eyes for the first time. It's nice."
As McLaughlin began appearing visibly uncomfortable, Gayle continued: "So hopefully we can win this game and we can have a drink after. Don't blush, baby."
McLaughlin seemed bemused at the proposition, before tersely responding "I'm not blushing" as Gayle awkwardly laughed the comment off.
There were audible sniggers from the commentary booth as the interview was happening.
The presenter brushed the incident off and attempted to steer the conversation back to the match, and a potential hamstring injury for Gayle.
Network Ten came under fire online for a tweet from its Ten Sport account that described Gayle's come-on as "smooth". It deleted the tweet after being criticised. The secretary of Victoria's Trades Hall Council accused the network of joking about workplace harassment.
Chris Gayle stars in Renegades win
Chris Gayle smashes 41 off 15 balls to lead the Melbourne Renegades to their second win of the Big Bash season over the Hobart Hurricanes.
Former England captain and Ten commentator Andrew Flintoff was also not impressed.
So hopefully we can win this game and we can have a drink after. Don't blush, baby.
Big Bash League chief Anthony Everard said Gayle's comments were "disrespectful and simply inappropriate".
"We'll certainly be talking to him and the Renegades about it. This league is all about its appeal to kids, families and females," he said.
Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry agreed. "We'll certainly be talking to him in association with Cricket Australia about it," he said. "There's just no place for that sort of behaviour."
Channel Ten head of sport David Barham told News Corp the network was "deeply offended".
"We will be seeking an apology," he said.
"It was totally inappropriate behaviour. Mel's a working journalist doing a job."
Renegades captain Aaron Finch said Gayle had apologised to McLaughlin. "As an organisation, we don't condone it," he said.
Channel Ten commentator Mark Howard backed the manner in which McLaughlin's handled the situation, labelling Gayle's actions inappropriate.
"It must be pointed out that Mel is a wonderful, professional, informed sports broadcaster and a valued member of Network Ten and on reflection, I don't think that's appropriate for what's required in that format," he said after the awkward interview.
"Chris is an entertainer and he's a joker, but I think he probably went a bit too far there. I hope we don't see any of it again, and Mel will be back for her next interview, prepared and ready to go as she always is."
But overnight Gayle, a Fairfax Media columnist, retweeted a post from media personality Piers Morgan attacking the attention people were paying to his comments.
It was not Gayle's first negative interaction with a female journalist - ESPNCricinfo writer Raf Nicholson wrote in 2014 that Gayle responded with a lewd remark to a female reporter who asked him about the pitch conditions before a day's play.
Canberra Times journalist Fleta Page also tweeted that she had experienced Gayle's advances before an interview.
I was sent to interview Chris Gayle a couple of years ago. He said no to the interview before hitting on me. Dickhead is his default mode.— Fleta Page (@FletaTheTweeter) January 4, 2016
There were sections of fans online who brushed off the exchange between Gayle and McLaughin as cheeky banter, but the majority of people were not amused.
Not clever. Not funny. Not original. How about just let a fine broadcaster do her job.— Neroli Meadows (@Neroli_M_FOX) January 4, 2016
I think Mel's thoughts pretty clear when she said 'I'm not blushing' in a biting way. Clearly annoyed to be put in that position.— Mark Gottlieb (@MarkGottliebFOX) January 4, 2016