West Indies opener Chris Gayle, already facing a barrage of criticism over inappropriate remarks to a female television reporter, has now been accused of allegedly indecently exposing himself to a woman during a Sydney training session at last year’s World Cup staged in Australia and New Zealand.
And according to reports, the matter was reported to team manager Sir Richie Richardson at the time.
The Australian woman, who was working around the West Indies team in Sydney, detailed the incident to Fairfax Media. In the course of her work she said she entered the team dressing room to get a sandwich as she hadn’t eaten all day, thinking the players were on the field training.
Instead, she found Gayle in the room with one other player. Gayle was wrapped in a towel, which she said he pulled down to partially expose his genitals to her while saying to her: “Are you looking for this?”
It is understood Richardson was told about the incident, but Gayle was not named. Richardson then sent an email to all West Indies players demanding women working around the team be treated with respect.
The female employee involved in last year’s incident did not want to be identified, but explained she was motivated to tell her story “in support of [Channel Ten reporter] Mel McLaughlin last night, and to support the many other women working as career professionals in sport who shouldn’t have to put up with this kind of treatment”.
“It’s that moment when you have a split second to react. I was shocked, and I just walked out,” she said.
“You put yourself in an office environment in Australia, and there’s no way that’s going to fly. Put yourself back in that deserted change room and it’s somehow OK for a career professional to be subjected to sexual jokes and demeaning advances.”
The incident reportedly took place in February last year while the West Indies were in Sydney preparing for the 2015 World Cup.
“He [Richardson] was 100 per cent supportive of me. I had his absolute apologies and support,” the woman said.
Approached by Fairfax Media at the SCG and asked about the allegations against Gayle from February, Richardson said: “At this point I have nothing to say about that or about what happened with Chris Gayle [in Hobart]”.
Gayle’s management also declined to comment on the allegation.
The woman says she felt sick when she watched Gayle proposition McLaughlin on air during Channel Ten’s coverage of the Big Bash League on Monday night.
Gayle went on to be feted for his World Cup exploits, when he belted a record 215 against Zimbabwe in Canberra. “It makes me sick that people like that are emulated as heroes when they behave like that towards half the population, there is nothing heroic about the way he conducts himself towards women,” she said.
Gayle has been writing paid columns for Fairfax Media over the past month. Given the issues that have arisen over the past 48 hours, that arrangement has been terminated.
No complaint was made to the World Cup local organising committee.