Tue | Mar 20, 2018

If Chris Gayle were white ...

Published:Saturday | January 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM


I've followed the heated discussion on Gayle's public gaffe, and couldn't help but wonder if there would've been any issue if Gayle were white.

Gayle casually invited the interviewer for drinks, which I agree was inappropriate and unprofessional, considering he was being interviewed. But would there be any issue if we later found out he asked her out, after the camera stopped rolling?

He didn't ask her to marry him or sleep with him, nor did he tell her he was attracted to her. Gayle has been called 'buttu', boorish, piggish and other names for his out-of-line behaviour. I'm by no means defending him, but he was slapped with a US$7,000 fine, received a lot of bad press and was crucified for a slip-up which lasted a few seconds.

I have seen much worse on TV. Anyone following football would be aware of the infamous 'f*** her in the p***" comment, often made randomly on live TV in Europe and elsewhere, to female sport reporters by rowdy male fans during interviews. I have never seen a black fan do this, only rowdy white male fans, often in their drunken state.

I've also seen a white female journalist covering a festival in British Columbia pounced upon by a passing male teenager (white) who kissed her randomly on the cheek then fled. She reported the assault to the police, and the guy was also outed on social media. He publicly apologised, expressed remorse, and that was the end of it. There was a similar incident at a music festival in Arkansas, everyone including the female reporter laughed it off as another silly prank.

The former mayor of Toronto, the infamous Rob Ford well known for cursing on camera, has used sexual innuendos live on TV, including his outburst about "having more than enough to eat at home", which made jaws drop. The mayor was never fired, fined or punished over this.

I have to therefore wonder, could Gayle's public gaffe be getting more traction and fury, because Gayle, a black man, invited a white female out for drinks in public? I think an apology and a fine should suffice, but I suspect this will be thrashed out in the news for a very long time to come.