Here’s what should have happened

Congratulations to David Wilson on his very thoughtful piece on the interview of Chris Gayle by Mel McLaughlin.

Who’d have thunk that in 2016, Mel McLaughlin would have been treated the way she was by Chris Gayle? I’m not going to re-hash what actually happened, but here’s what should have happened immediately after the interview:

  1. The central commentators should have called out the sexism straight away, rather than stuffing around the edge. Channel 10 eventually got their act together and removed the tweets about the smoothness of the interview – they actually used the #smooth.
  2. The Melbourne Renegades should have suspended Chris Gayle immediately, pending deeper consideration by Cricket Australia.
  3. Cricket Australia’s board should have convened on Tuesday morning to sanction both the Renegades (for not doing anything) and Chris Gayle in particular. Anything less than a substantial fine and suspension for the rest of the series would have been unsatisfactory.
  4. Chris Gayle should have provided both Mel McLaughlin and the cricketing public an unqualified apology.
  5. Arrangements should have been made for Chris Gayle to have some intensive training in acceptable behaviour for highly paid cricket players; or for civilized people.  Take your pick.

Let’s deal with the unqualified apology first. For those who have no idea how to apologise – and listening to talk back radio today, it seems there are a lot of people out there who have no idea – the moment any words other than “I apologise” or “I apologise unreservedly” are offered, the apology becomes null and void. So, Mr Gayle’s addition of the words “if she took offence” meant he wasn’t sorry. He couldn’t see what the fuss was about.

Oh, and on that it’s interesting to note that when Senator Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education & Training, was asked about what Jamie Briggs, MP, had done, he said it was time to move on. Chris Gayle said the same thing when “apologising”. Who on earth do either of them think they are in telling us to move on from behaviour that is totally unacceptable and that has not been appropriately penalised?

I note that the Renegades have imposed a $10,000 fine, but no suspension. The CEO for the Renegades said that they think this is a “one off” event, that it might have been a cultural indifference (sic), that it was meant as a joke and Gayle didn’t mean any harm. They have not required that a proper apology be provided to Ms McLaughlin or to the cricketing public who were disgusted by the behaviour.

Guess what? It’s not a “one off”. In July 2014 in Antigua, while playing in the Carribean Premier League, Gayle was pilloried by women’s groups for sexist remarks which, when I read them, were actually revolting. I won’t quote them but here’s the link.

Part of the problem is that women are a   l o n g   way behind.

I raised this in a recent article about female cricket commentators missing as a regular part of the ABC cricket commentary team. I have also raised it with some at the ABC, but no comment or response was received. Women just aren’t there, except at lunch time on Tuesday when there was no cricket, and Gerard Whateley did a fabulous interview with Neroli Meadows (Fox Sport) and Melinda Farrell (ESPNCricinfo). Occasionally, women are brought in for comments or special interviews, but they are not part of the routine commentary team.

It will be difficult to make substantial change unless organisations such as our national broadcaster include the other 50% of the population as a routine. The Renegades clearly got the wrong end of the stick as far as penalties are concerned, and they should consider their own governance model. For example, they might have consulted with a few female journalists (eg., Neroli and Melinda, oh, and Mel McLaughlin). It took me two minutes to find the report of the revolting behaviour of Gayle in July 2014. But then, I’m only a woman who watches sports, so what does my view count?

Finally, those of us oldies who call out sexism are tired. We are pilloried for calling it out. Our intelligence, our sexual preferences and our looks are all called into question when we call it out.

So I am grateful to David Wilson and others who are also calling out this appalling behaviour. May the force be with you.

About Anne Cahill Lambert

One of the first females to be admitted to membership of the G. Thank you Mr Cain. Nicknamed The Hyphen by Alamanac Editor, despite the fact I don't have one.


  1. I blame Mel & Cricket Australia. She should have kneed the prick in the orchestras and CA should have cancelled his contract on the spot for behaviour unbecoming. Why have we lost our ability for instant and decisive action – at all levels of society? Why are we having this ongoing ‘conversation’?

  2. Hi Anne,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the incident.

    When I heard about the incident through social media this morning, I just thought that his asking her out publicly was bad. But later I watched the interview on YouTube and reasons why he got out the field was also inappropriate.

    I regret what I did in 1988. At the time, I was at high school. Like jumping into the cliff, I declared my feelings to a girl whom I wanted to date. But I did when there were other girls. How silly I was! Indeed her reply was no that made two days later. It was not the end of the story. Then she was asked to date by the f***ing w***er (who bullied me) whom she had not met and she approved. Indeed I got a lot of upset.

    What made me anger against him was the link to the news report for the past incident. This bloke should be deported from Australia because he harassed women in other countries too. If I were a Melbourne Renegades board member, I would urge to sack him immediately.

    I agree with you that he didn’t apologise and feel sorry for Ms McLaughlin.

    It is really sad to see many BBL news are related to on field performances. Instead this terrible news and about the watermelon boy (the son of SEN presenter, Tony Schibeci).

    I want BBL players to perform well creating positive headlines.

    I am a bloke and would love to stand up for women.

    Best Wishes


  3. Mel McLaughlin has committed the sin of double standards on a morning show, doing exactly the same thing, objectifying a strange man on a beach with a nice body, tried to ask him out etc. Hypocrite!

  4. Thanks Anne.
    I like your idea of presenting what should have happened.

    Over time I reckon attitudes are changing.
    But there’s a long road ahead.
    Important to keep calling this out.

    And nice use of “the force.”
    Without *spoiling* anything, the role of Rey in the current “The Force Awakens” is a good example of how societal views on the expectations of women are changing. Compare her character with that of Leia of 1977 – who herself was a ahead of community standards of the time.
    May the force be with you.

  5. Well said Anne. I was flabbergasted that anyone was even debating whether CG’s remarks were inappropriate! They were so offensive. So rank. There was no grey area.

  6. Anne Cahill Lambert says

    Many thanks to all of you for your comments and support.
    I would vote for The Wrap to be ruler of the world. The succinct and swift response would leave no doubt about which way is up! Thank you. ;)

  7. Dave Brown says

    Wow, Luke – so do all women look the same to you or people of a certain cosmetic appearance? Bravo! That was Nuala Hafner

  8. Malcolm Ashwood says

    With respect,Anne I could not disagree more what should have happened is,Mell been prepared and come back with a line in your dreams,Chris etc it has been the greatest over reaction in aust sporting history.Why were the commentators laughing at the time because it was a,JOKE until some 1 told,Howie to carry on like a pork chop.I would love channel 10 to have a cricket expert like,Belinda Clark involved in there broadcast not just some 1 because they are extremely attractive.i am glad that social media in general is disgusted how the whole matter has been blown completely out of proportion

  9. Couldn’t disagree more Rulebook. Gayle’s public displays of arrogance, selfishness and narcissism – most frequently on display in his objectification of women as sex toys – is at least a contributing element in the decline of West Indies cricket.
    As someone with a keen interest in leadership I can’t understand how you would think that these are good qualities in a captain. Read Andrew Webster’s article in the SMH about Gayle hosting a pool party with “show girls” etc after the Windies were put out of the T20 World Cup last year. No wonder Marlon Samuels, Roach etc don’t seem to care these days. And what about the example for young players. Party when you lose and glorify self, money and lust. Just one of many examples of his behaviour down the years.
    No wonder Clive Lloyd and Richie Richardson etc give every appearance of not caring if he ever plays Tests again. “Good riddance” seems to be their unspoken message to me.
    Chappeli and Warne might be lairs on occasion, but at least they knew that individual success came from team success. Gayle sees the world from the opposite end of the lens.

  10. No one in particular says

    Malcolm, you say (sic) ‘i am glad that social media in general is disgusted’

    Don’t be so sure that your social media circles are representative of what’s healthy. Indeed, I would say your circles come across as an unhealthily red-neck if that’s what’s getting ‘likes’.

  11. Anne Cahill Lambert says

    The commentators were laughing, Malcolm, because they had no idea how to behave either until someone hammered it into them. Not sure why you think that Mel is ignorant about cricket and only there for her looks.
    Until women are included as a routine in cricket commentary, people like the (male) commentators who laughed will have trouble.
    Thanks Peter for your comments. Sensible as always.

  12. Trucker Slim says

    Rulebook, with due respect, you are very knowledgeable when it comes to footy and cricket but your comment doesn’t even display the most basic understanding of Gender Studies, Cultural Studies and one of the great (and much needed) social movements of the twentieth century – the feminist movement. Even a cursory read of ‘The Second Sex’ and ‘Damned Whores and God’s Police’ will enlighten you enough to appreciate how misguided and misjudged your comment is.

  13. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I new my thoughts were not going to be popular on this thread but I had bitten my tongue for long enough,PB my thoughts on Gayle as a person and leader or may be lack of is a completely separate issue I am only commenting on the hysteria and over reaction to this whole matter and Anne I think the commentators were laughing ( as the tweet sent immediately ) as they thought it was funny that was all.
    Should,Gayle have realised quicker that,Mel wasn’t laughing straight away yes should,Mel have come back with a line and laughed it off I still say yes.On social media the exact question was,Do you think ,Chris Gayle has been treated unfairly there had been,5112 votes of which,73 per cent said yes he has
    I reckon overall society that is about right and again I make the point have a cricket expert such as
    Belinda Clark ,Karen Rolton there are plenty to pick from not,Mel.Rick to say it has been blown out of proportion is the biggest understatement ever

  14. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    ‘Book, I can see how there would be a view in some quarters that there has been an overreaction.

    But, what has Mel M not being quick witted enough in a nationally televised live interview, while doing her job, got do with her not being Belinda Clark or Karen Rolton. Oh yeah, they would have laughed it off.

    So there is only room for someone with a baggy green in the on air team? The same logic that gives us Slater, Lee, Healy, Lee. Based on that logic, you’ve never been a woman, so your opinion on how a woman should have reacted is null and void.

    You might want to read this from Angela Pippos, my wife and three daughters agreed, but they probably don’t show up in your Facebook poll.

  15. Malcolm Ashwooc says

    Swish all I want is some 1 who has some understanding and knowledge of the game eg Bruce McVaney,Mike Coward they don’t have to played at the top level.Caro,Samanthz Land and Kelly Underwood all have v good footy knowledge.Andy Maher and to a lesser extent,Howie struggle as well re cricket knowledge while we will all have commentators we like or dislike for me,Mark Waugh is definitely the latter but obviously he understands the game re Belinda Clark I mention her as she has a fantastic understanding of the game.The 20 20 is commentated as fun and hit and giggle so the 1st time on 1 of these idiotic interviews of a batsman when he is dismissed has a bit of fun there is a national outrage for goodness sake and yes I still think,Mel should have come back with a line.The comment she is just a professional doing her job is going way 2 far the whole commentary is based on fun and taking the mickey out of people,Mel had the perfect chance to join in ( yes I watched above,Swish)

  16. crankypete says

    The only thing I think I want to add, and it’s not an excuse, is that one of the reasons the commentators might have laughed was nerves. Shit, I think he’s just done a bad thing – so making a joke of it might lessen its impact; buy time; fuck how do I get out of this etc.

    Who of us – men – hasn’t laughed nervously at something one of our friends/family has said. The Big Uneasy Laugh.

    Because it’s easier to laugh. Especially as an instant, on-air reaction.

    And It’s easier to laugh. Than to stand up to this shit. Especially in a group, or from someone you respect. Or who intimidates you.

    It’s how we got into the shit – by treating it as a joke. Same with “casual” racism – call this casual sexism if you like. Still remember one of my more senior male relatives telling my sisters – all of whom would out think and out value him with one hand behind their back – that they should just go and be secretaries or stay home. And then encourage me and and my brother to laugh – it was only a joke. Ha ha. Boy haven’t those sisters shoved it up him. I was about 10. My mum was at uni, Damned Whores had just come out. I didn’t really understand the meaning. Anyway…

    The laughter shows we’re not out of the shit.

    I think we – men – have to stop laughing at this crap. It’s not a joke.

    I would prefer to think that seasoned professionals like the men in the booth knew, once they had processed the event, that things were wrong. After all, they are professionals, have been trained, understand the rules, and have mothers, daughters, sisters. colleagues, friends, who are women, who deserve their respect.

    If this is the case, II would like to hear them say that. And to know that they wouldn’t let something like that happen again. It’s wrong, and the constraints of instant replay TV, with all of its challenges, and the general vibe they are aiming for, make it harder to manage, but that’s their choice. Something has to change. Might as well start with them.

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