The Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Indian cricket Board have been silent so far on the outrageous conduct of Chris Gayle but there is provision to punish and discourage such behaviour. Most laws of the IPL Code of conduct deal with offences committed during matches but there is a sub clause to deal with cases like Gayle’s allegedly sexist comments in the interview to ‘The Times’.
Article 2.1.8 could be implemented in cases not pertaining to incidents during a match. It states: “Where the facts of the alleged incident are not adequately or clearly covered by any of the above offences, conduct that either: (a) is contrary to the spirit of the game; or (b) brings the game into disrepute. By way of example, Article 2.1.8 (b) may (depending on the seriousness and context of the breach) prohibit the following: (a) public acts of misconduct; (b) unruly public behaviour and (c) inappropriate comments which are detrimental to the interests of the game.” It can be deemed between a Level 1 and Level 4 offence.
But the bigger problem is whether the BCCI is ready to address this incident as one that is contrary to the spirit and interests of the game and hence deserves strict punishment. Unlike Gayle’s Big Bash League controversy, this didn’t happen on live TV. That is probably why Royal Challengers Bangalore are considering it a private matter. “There is no stand (of RCB). This is a private thing. How can one speak to him (Gayle) on this?” an RCB official told HT from Raipur on Monday. He however hung up the phone when asked if Gayle had at least been censured by the team management for his lewd remarks. Subsequent emails to the team official went unanswered.
This IPL, interview requests have been turned down as RCB are apparently not granting any as a matter of policy. Even if this arrangement was personal, Gayle had to take permission from the BCCI anti-corruption unit official employed to watch over each team. The team management had to know what was happening. But RCB clearly have a different view.
Even Somerset, where Gayle hasn’t even played yet, has openly condemned the interview in ‘The Times’ and has promised to speak to him. “Players are the ambassadors of the club. We have a good track record of signing mavericks, Ian Botham and Viv Richards being examples, but we take conduct seriously. You have to talk to players, I’m sure we’ll have a sensible conversation with Chris when he arrives in the country,” Somerset chief executive Guy Lavender was quoted as saying.
During the BBL controversy involving anchor Mel McLaughlin in January, it took Melbourne Renegades less than 24 hours to impose a $10,000 fine on Gayle. There was also condemnation from Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland who said Gayle’s comments could be construed as workplace harassment. Renegades coach David Saker, however, was recently quoted as saying that Gayle could still be considered for next year’s team. But at least some action was taken against Gayle. Two days have passed since the interview appeared but neither the world’s most powerful board nor the biggest franchise league has taken notice of Gayle’s latest ‘remarks’.
Gayle has insisted the comments he made to McLaughlin were “just a little fun”. In an extract from his autobiography published on Monday, Gayle said his remarks during the Big Bash League was “meant as a joke. I meant it as a little fun. I didn’t mean to be disrespectful and I didn’t mean it to be taken serious.”