• In an interview on Channel Ten's The Project tonight McLaughlin said she just wanted to "move on". (The Project, Network Ten) (The Project)
Sports journalist Mel McLaughlin said she has accepted Chris Gayle's apology for his inappropriate comments during an interview on air.
Source:
AAP, SBS News
5 Jan 2016 - 4:53 AM  UPDATED 5 Jan 2016 - 9:27 PM

Cricket star Gayle has been fined $10,000 following his controversial sideline interview with the reporter Mel McLaughlin during Monday night's BBL match between Melbourne Renegades and Hobart Hurricanes.

In an interview on Channel Ten's The Project tonight McLaughlin said she just wanted to "move on" from the incident.

McLaughlin said the experience had been uncomfortable and "obviously a bit disappointing".

"I'm a little bit uncomfortable. I'm not used to being at the centre of any sort of story," she said.

"This one certainly escalated, but I'm okay."

The big-hitting West Indies cricketer on Tuesday had described his attempt to flirt with the Network Ten reporter Mel McLaughlin live on air as a "simple joke" with no offence or disrespect intended.

McLaughlin said she had heard Gayle’s apology for the incident made during a media conference this afternoon about the incident and said: "I accept that, I just want to move on."

However, his comments provoked widespread condemnation as sexist and inappropriate and Renegades CEO Stuart Coventry announced on Tuesday afternoon that Gayle would be fined $10,000 by the franchise with the money to be donated to the McGrath Foundation.

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Gayle a 'repeat offender' says journalist

Fox Sports reporter Neroli Meadows says Gayle is a repeat offender when it comes to sexist and humiliating comments.

In an interview with radio station 3AW, Meadows said as soon as she saw Gayle get out, and knowing Channel Ten sports reporter Mel McLaughlin was on the boundary, she knew what was going to happen.

"He’s done it before, he’s done it to me, he’s done it to several female journos," she said.

"It’s not ok, she’s just trying to do her job.

"She’s a well-respected journalist and he went out to humiliate her and to be one of the boys and to get a reaction and he got a reaction.

"He’s a repeat offender and he does it purely to humiliate that person in that public arena. He does it constantly and he’s done it over several years."

Meadows said people's reaction to such behaviour needed to change.

"You can say Chris Gayle won’t change, and that’s fine, he probably won’t," she said.

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"But what should change is the reaction to what Chris Gayle does. It’s not funny, it’s just not, and I know that people will hear me and think that I’m just being a whinging female, but the thing is, stuff like this happens 10 times a day when you’re in a male-dominated industry and people need to trust us that it’s not ok.

"When we say something like ‘This is offensive’, just hear it rather than saying ‘shut up’, ‘get over it’, ‘you’re being too serious’, ‘take it as a joke’. If somebody pokes you in the arm 100 times a day, every day that you are at work, guess what – at some time you’re going to react."

Meadows said sports players and fans needed to "stop laughing and think about it and think when we say it hurts, we mean it. We’re not just on our bandwagon or our high horse".

'Inappropriate' and 'not cool'

Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland has said Gayle's comments bordered on workplace harassment.

Sutherland is not ruling out sanctions against Gayle who has been widely condemned for inappropriate chauvinistic behaviour.

"Anyone that sees the humour in that is misunderstanding and somewhat delusional about the situation," Sutherland told reporters on Tuesday in Sydney.

"It is a workplace situation. It is inappropriate and it is very public. That just goes to the point about how inappropriate and just not cool that is."

Former Independent MP and anti-violence campaigner Phil Cleary has described Chris Gayle’s behaviour as “pathetic”.

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“It sexualised a woman who was interviewing him," he told SBS News.

"It derided the professionalism of the woman and portrayed her as nothing more than a sexual object.”

Mr Cleary said Gayle’s subsequent apology, which included comments that the incident had been ‘blown out of proportion’, missed the point.

“If he wants to look across a table at a woman in a bar, sharing a glass of wine, and tell her that she’s beautiful and he loves the look of her eyes and he’d like to take her home – so be it.

"But don’t be so full of pomposity and self-importance as if you’re the sexual Adonis. Just see yourself as a cricketer talking to a woman about cricket.”

Gayle cut short a media conference at Melbourne Airport which was called over the issue.

"There wasn't anything meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel. If she felt that way, I'm really sorry for that," Gayle said.

"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 - the game was going on.

"Things get out of proportion but these things happen."

McLaughlin appeared to be rattled by the interview.

"Hopefully, we can win this game and you and I can have a drink after. Don't blush baby," Gayle told the reporter.

The laughing batsman said his dismissal allowed him to "come to this interview to see you".

"That's the reason why I'm here, just to see your eyes for the first time," he said.

Network Ten's head of sport David Barham said McLaughlin would be forced to deal with the incident for a long time.

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"For him, he just moves on. What about Mel?" Barham told the network's Studio 10 program.

"Everywhere she goes, every supermarket she goes into, every airport she goes into, she gets 'don't blush baby'."

Barham said fans would no longer hear from Gayle on or off the field.

"I've lost a bit of confidence in that Chris is going to say the right thing out on the pitch," Barham said.

Social media split over apology

Gayle's comments, and his subsequent apology, have split social media users between those outraged by his remarks and those who think his comments were nothing to worry about.