West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle has tried to laugh off the uproar over his outrageously sexist remarks to a female journalist, Charlotte Edwards. Gayle sparked a furore after he asked the scribe how many black men she had slept with, whether she has had a threesome, whether her hair is dyed (while flicking his eyes downwards). His words — “I have a big, big bat, the biggest in the wooooorld… you will need two hands to lift it” — have now become the stuff of lewd legend.
Notwithstanding his big bat, Gayle has been unable to deflect the heavy criticism and instead dubbed the negative reaction as ‘racism’. Never mind that this is the second time Gayle made inappropriate comments to a female reporter. In January, he had propositioned broadcaster Mel McLaughlin live on air in January, asking her if she would like to go out for a drink with him, then adding, “Don’t blush, baby.” He was widely condemned for that incident as well, but clearly, he learned nothing.
Gayle, the father of a little girl, said that it was just a joke, but he was being made a scapegoat because he is a successful black man. According to him, none of this criticism would have happened if a white footballer had made the same remarks. The West Indies batsman might know how to rack up the runs, but he has shown that his IQ is not strong as his cricket score.
What Gayle should have done was to offer an apology straight up, and what he has failed to do now is keep his trap shut. Gayle needs to realise that as a cricketer, whether in the IPL or when he’s playing for West Indies, he is the ambassador for his nation. The big-hitting cricketer is an idol to many, and needs to conduct himself with more dignity and maturity.
But Gayle will only learn from his mistakes when he is made to suffer consequences. Cricket boards need to impose fines that pinch, and not just let him off with a rap on the knuckles. He won’t find that so funny.
The biggest bat in the wooooorld? More like the biggest fool in the cricketing wooorld.