Chris Gayle is walking on thin ice
I remember earlier this year when Chris Gayle became the centre of attention for the wrong reasons during Australia's Big Bash.
The West Indian opening batsman was publicly vilified after asking sideline reporter Mel McLaughlin out on a date, while she was conducting a live interview with him. He had just excited the crowd by smashing 41 runs off just over a handful of balls for the Melbourne Renegades.
The league fined him $10,000 and there were calls from others, including cricketers, for him to be banned from the league. At the time, my take on it was that Gayle was wrong to do what he did because the woman was just trying to do her job. Those calling for him to be banned were a bit over the top, but the bottom line is he was wrong.
When he departed the league, Gayle posted a major rant on Instagram cursing all those who did not support him, even suggesting that some of those who didn't support him were racist. Some of that might well be true because we all know there are different standards for people of different races in certain environments.
But like those who came at him calling for him to be banned, his reaction was over the top and told the world that even though he had apologised, he had not accepted that he was wrong.
Since that time, Gayle went on to win the T20 World Cup for a second time and became a father for the first time. He claimed he named his daughter Blush in an apparent dig at those who took umbrage with his comments to McLaughlin when she reacted to his overtures. "Don't blush baby," he said in January while laughing.
ALL BUT FORGOTTEN
Fast forward a few months and the Mel McLaughlin incident is all but forgotten. Gayle is now playing in the IPL and struggling with the bat. He has made only two scores of note so far - 49 and 73. Otherwise, his scores more resemble a phone number - 9, 1, 6, 5, 7, 0, 1, and 4, scores that have people wondering if he is past best or just having a bad run.
But then just when we are thinking the IPL will come to an end with incident, here comes a report that Gayle was again being 'inappropriate'. During an interview with a female reporter from The Times, Gayle told her that he has "a very, very big bat, the biggest in the wooooorld. You think you could lift it? You'd need two hands."
And as expected, the backlash began and as it gained momentum. Gayle defended himself by saying that the comments were made in jest and he was having a bit of fun.
He may have been having fun, and perhaps the reporter might not have even minded, but the fact that she mentioned it suggested that she just might have.
My problem is that Gayle does not seem to learn from past experiences.
Like he did in January, he said the attacks on him are racist in nature. And perhaps, like was the case in January, he may be right to a certain degree. But if he knows this and yet continues to act the fool, what does that make him - stupid? Why is he giving people ammunition to use against him?
Because of the recent comments, Gayle is now out of the Big Bash League. That is money lost. The Indian Premier League (IPL), where Gayle apparently earns the bulk of his T20 revenue, is also planning to review the case. That could mean he might be out of the IPL too.
Earlier this week, IPL chairman, Rajiv Shukla, said, "The players must behave." He also said he would speak with the bosses at the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) about the matter as well.
Now, we don't know if RCB or the IPL will sanction him, but whether they do or not, we know one thing for certain. Gayle's reputation has been tarnished because the world is now beginning to see a pattern of behaviour that he might think is cool, but to many it's boorish and unacceptable.
What is even more unfortunate is that those around him don't seem to be doing enough to protect him from himself.
Gayle is walking on thin ice right now. These incidents and the fact that he is not making runs, not lighting up the night sky with his big sixes, makes him dispensable. And in sport, that is not a good thing to be.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org