Friday, January 8, 2016

Everybody Hates Chris

A West Indian cricketer being humiliated in Australia isn’t unusual; it’s been occurring at regular intervals for the past 15 years. But this week, batsman Chris Gayle, playing in the Australian Big Bash tournament, hit such a record-breaking innings of shame that it is likely to stand for decades to come.  
 While being interviewed live on air by Australian reporter Mel McLaughlin, Gayle felt it was an appropriate time as any to make a pass at her. To make matters worse, Gayle’s pick up line oozed with as much class and sophistication as a construction worker yelling out to a woman,“Aye gyul, yuh name varnish owa? You looking good for wood”.

For 32 cringe inducing seconds, audiences had to endure Gayle clumsily telling Ms. McLaughlin, “To see your eyes for the first time is nice. Hopefully we can have a drink afterwards. Don’t blush, baby”.  As it turns out, Ms. McLaughlin wasn’t blushing; she was instead making a face that professional broadcasters make when they are being treated less like professional broadcasters and more like contestants in a wet tee shirt contest. For his part, Gayle seemed too enamored with his own self to notice.

If you’re wondering how a person set with a straightforward task, like answering questions on his batting; a task he is more than capable of doing, manages to turn it into a monumental train wreck in the blink of an eye - well congratulations - you now know what it feels like to be a West Indies cricket supporter.

The firestorm of controversy that has since erupted over Gayle’s behavior has divided opinion. For some, Gayle demonstrated the kind of unprofessional behavior some women face in the workplace on a daily basis. For others, Ms. McLaughlin demonstrated the kind of uptight, can’t take a joke, “feel she too good attitude”, that some men face in the workplace on a daily basis.

Others still pointed out that Gayle is hardly the first professional athlete to flirt with a journalist. During a press conference, tennis star, Maria Sharapova once famously flirted with Australian reporter Lachlan Wills complimenting him on his “form”. Mr. Wills even later publicly asked her out. This did not generate as much heated controversy, perhaps because Sharapova’s pick up line was far better than Gayle’s, and perhaps because nobody really pays much regard to what female athletes say or do. Just ask Serena Williams. Or don’t. Who Cares?

Of course there were those who pointed out that Gayle’s behavior was simply the Caribbean male way of doing things. When a full blooded Caribbean man sees a “bess thing”, it’s culturally acceptable for him to make a bold sexually suggestive move for everyone to see. Unless of course he’s a gay man, whereby cultural tastes dictate that he keeps that disgusting gay behavior to himself and stop broadcasting it for everyone to see.  

Apart from being hit on while you’re working, there are many other things right here in T&T that women in Australia might be too uptight to understand. For example if Mel McLaughlin was a 14 year old Muslim or Hindu girl, Chris Gayle could legally marry her. If she ever needed an abortion, she couldn’t legally get one.  She would also find that her risk of contracting cervical cancer would be twice as much as anywhere else in the world. And of course if she dressed like a man, there is no way she can get into Aria for free.

Alas, as is the case with anything involving West Indies cricket, things have of course gotten even worse for Gayle. Other reporters have come forward accusing him of the same unprofessional behavior, and one woman has made a rather serious allegation that Gayle exposed himself to her during the World Cup in Australia last year. It’s an allegation that Gayle denies, but one which I’m guessing he won’t receive the benefit of the doubt for.

It should go without saying that Gayle has been largely unrepentant in all of this. Apart from being forced into making a halfhearted apology to Ms. McLaughlin, where he dismissed his behavior as a lame joke, he has spent his time doing the second thing he’s famous for; posting pictures of his supposedly awesome life on Instagram.

The day after his incident with Ms. McLaughlin he posted a picture of himself wearing a tee shirt saying “sex sells”. It is perhaps too much to assume that Gayle has learnt anything from all of this. As the great cricketer Vivian Richards once said; form is temporary, class (or the lack thereof) is permanent.

1 comment:

NomisTT said...

All this funny because it is almost not. Such backwards thinking plus religion will take us back to the stone age faster than we think. It's up to the forward thinkers to halt this regression.

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