Melbourne cricket player Chris Gayle received backlash on social media after asking Ten Sports reporter Melanie McLaughlin for a drink during a live TV interview.
Gayle was talking to McLaughlin after scoring 41 runs off 15 balls for the Melbourne Renegades in their match against the Hobart Hurricanes in Australia Big Bash League Monday night when he made the remark on the female journalist.
“I just wanted to have an interview with you as well, that’s why I batted so well,” Gayle told McLaughlin and then seized the moment to ask her out on a date.
“Your eyes are beautiful, hopefully we can win this game and then we can have a drink after as well,” he added and then laughingly told McLaughlin “don’t blush baby,” the Bleacher Report wrote.
McLaughlin proved her professionalism and railed the interview back on track by replying to the cricket player: “I’m not blushing” and ended the unwelcomed request.
Gayle’s advances to the female reporter garnered backlashes on Twitter.
Former England captain Andrew Flintoff were among those who criticized Gayle.
Meanwhile, Gayle has apologised for his comments to McLaughlin, Herald Sun reported.
Speaking at Melbourne Airport after touching down with teammates, Gayle said he didn’t mean to offend McLaughlin and his comments were simply a joke.
“It seemed to be blown out of proportion. There wasn’t anything at all meant to be disrespectful to Mel. It was a simple comment, a simple joke,” Herald Sun quoted him saying.
“If she felt that way, I’m really sorry for that. There wasn’t any harm meant in that particular way, to harm any particular person in any particular way like that. It was a simple joke … I don’t know how it reached this far, to be honest. It is one of those things,” Gayle added.
Meanwhile, Ten Sport TV Twitter account had tweeted a quote from the interview with the hashtag “smooth”, ABC News reported.
The tweet later deleted and Ten’s head of sport, David Barham, told The Herald Sun the comment was highly inappropriate and that he was deeply offended by the remarks.
“We will be seeking an apology … We won’t be using him [Gayle] in the game anymore … Unless things change in the next few days, it’s not happening. It was totally inappropriate behaviour. Mel’s a working journalist doing a job,” said Barham.
Gayle previously drew backlash about his lavish lifestyle after turning a one storey building into a mansion. According to The Telegraph, the furnished mansion has nine bedrooms, four garages, a personal cinema and a strip club, which he bragged on his posts.
The sports stars defended his action, saying: “I grew up with nothing, and I made a bit of money. Now I can say, ‘I want that car, I want that house’. I’ve got my dream home, so I’m satisfied. This is where I started. The fact that I’m able to help my friends is fantastic. A lot of people would love to be in this position.”