Sydney: The storm surrounding star cricketer Chris Gayle over an attempt to flirt with an Australian presenter on live TV intensified yesterday as new allegations about his behaviour towards women emerged.
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More female journalists aired complaints against the West Indian after he was fined US$7,000 on Tuesday for his approach to Network Ten reporter Mel McLaughlin. Gayle apologised and tried to brush off the exchange with McLaughlin as a harmless joke.
His team, the Melbourne Renegades, played down calls for sterner action and said their star signing would play again in the Big Bash League on Saturday. But Fox Sports reporter Neroli Meadows branded the Jamaican a "creep".
"He does this constantly," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "He's a creep, he has creepy behaviour." She said Gayle came on to her during a 2011 interview saying, "Sorry, I was totally distracted by your pretty face -- could you repeat the question?" Nine News reporter Yvonne Sampson said Gayle had also asked her on a date after watching her carry out an interview.
"I had a notification via Twitter that Chris Gayle would like to take me out to dinner," she said. "I'd never met him. I think Chris Gayle is a known womaniser, and that's a really awful word, but that's what he is." McLaughlin found herself being asked out for a drink after Gayle blasted 41 runs off 15 balls late Monday. Gayle said he was happy to be interviewed "just to see your eyes for the first time".
"Don't blush, baby," the Jamaican added, before saying, "Sorry!" and breaking into a big laugh. Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland said no one should have to face such comments, which were "completely out of line" and "inappropriate". Renegades CEO Stuart Coventry offered a formal apology but described it as "a one-off scenario... a cultural indifference... done in jest".
He dismissed a more lurid allegation against Gayle reported in the media on Wednesday as "opportunistic". The opener was apologetic on Tuesday, but insisted the on-air flirt had been blown out of proportion. "There wasn't anything meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel," Gayle said.
"If she felt that way, I'm really sorry for that. "There wasn't any harm meant in that particular way... It was a simple joke. The game was going on. Entertainment, things get out of proportion." McLaughlin accepted the apology, saying it was time to move on.