Australia spinner Steve O’Keefe has been sanctioned by the country’s cricket governing body, Cricket Australia (CA), over a drunken incident involving the player.
Steve O’Keefe, whose phenomenal performance with the ball during the opening Test in Pune against India had helped the visitors clinch a shock 333-run victory, was found guilty of a Level 2 offence under the governing body’s Code of Conduct for making ‘highly inappropriate comments whilst under the influence of alcohol’ during a Cricket New South Wales (NSW) function, a CA statement revealed.
“O’Keefe was charged with a breach of Article 2.2.11 of the Code - conduct unbecoming of a representative. As this is O’Keefe’s second offence under the Cricket Australia Code of Conduct, within the last 18 months, a fine of $20,000 was proposed and accepted. O’Keefe will also undergo further appropriate counselling. Given he accepted the proposed sanction and charge, no hearing was required.
“Cricket NSW has also elected to impose a further sanction which will see O’Keefe excluded from consideration for selection by NSW for the 2017 One-Day Domestic tournament,” the statement read.
Andrew Jones, CEO of Cricket NSW, said, “Stephen has not upheld the standards expected of a NSW and Australian cricketer in the aftermath of the India tour where he proudly represented his state and country.
“As this is his second recent offence we believe a strong penalty is appropriate. At Cricket NSW, we want all our people to achieve their potential on and off the field and Stephen needs to refocus himself on that task.”
O’Keefe offers apology
O’Keefe has offered an unconditional apology for the behaviour following the sanction.
“At an official Cricket NSW function I became intoxicated and made highly inappropriate comments. There is no excuse for this and I take full responsibility and offer an unconditional apology,” he said.
“I accept the sanctions imposed by Cricket Australia and Cricket NSW and welcome the chance to receive specialist counselling. I have a big challenge ahead and I am determined to meet it with actions, not just words.
“To all of the members of the cricket family I love and respect so much, again, apologies for letting you down,” he added.
O’Keefe had earlier been fined $10,000 by CA in August 2016 for a drunken incident involving him and security staff at a Sydney bar. The incident had taken place after his return home from the Sri Lanka tour due to injury.