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Support Gayle says Sir Hilary
KINGSTON—Leading regional academic Sir Hilary Beckles has thrown his support behind embattled West Indies batsman Chris Gayle and has encouraged the Caribbean to do the same.
Gayle has found himself embroiled in a sexism row following a controversial interview with Australian reporter Mel McLaughlin, during a game in the Big Bash League recently. Sir Hilary, the Vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies, said he believed Gayle had made a genuine mistake and should be forgiven.
“I take his words for what he said, that he meant no offence. I take his word for that. I think he has given his apology,” Sir Hilary told the Gleaner newspaper here.
“We have to give him the support that he needs. Lots of sportsmen and women from time to time might not say the diplomatically pleasing thing, but in most cases, the environment of sport, comments are sometimes taken in the wrong way, and I just want to see Chris dust off all of this.”
Sir Hilary, a former West Indies Cricket Board director, said it was important that Gayle rebounded from the controversy as there was still an important role for him to play in West Indies cricket.
“This event has humbled Chris, and I want to big him up to get back,” Sir Hilary pointed out.
“I have known him for many years, and I wish him all the best, and I say to him, ‘come back and fulfill your destiny, and your destiny is in the heart of West Indies cricket’.”
The 36-year-old Gayle courted controversy when he appeared to openly flirt with McLaughin by telling her during a live TV interview: “I wanted to come and have an interview with you as well, that’s the reason why I’m here. Just to see your eyes for the first time. It’s nice.”
He continued: “So hopefully we can win this game and we can have a drink after. Don’t blush, baby.”
Gayle was subsequently censured by Cricket Australia and Big Bash League organisers, and also fined $10,000 (US$7,000). Sir Hilary, who has in the past attracted criticism by his characterisation of Gayle as a ‘don’, said mistakes were common in all walks of life.
“All of us who are educators – and I am first and foremost an educator – I have seen how all of us can sometimes make statements that are not ideal under the circumstances,” Sir Hilary contended.
“But he is a cricketer, and he is a sportsman; and like every sportsman, you make mistakes on the field and off the field.
“When you make mistakes on the field, you go to your coach and you correct them. When you make mistakes off the field, you go to your support team and you correct them.
“And when you correct them, you come out and demonstrate that you are much better and much bigger.”