West Indies cricket superstar Chris Gayle offered a half-hearted apology Tuesday for suggestive comments he made during a live interview with Australian TV interviewer Melanie McLaughlin the night before — but Gayle was quickly hit with another accusation of sexually inappropriate conduct when a woman told an Australian media outlet that the 36-year-old Gayle exposed his genitals to her during the Cricket World Cup in Australia last spring.
Cricket is considered the world's second most popular sport with about 2.5 billion fans globally, and Jamaica native Chris Gayle is one of the sport's most famous and popular stars. His total earnings of $7.5 million in 2015 made him the world's fourth-highest-paid cricket player. He is currently in Australia playing for the Melbourne Renegades franchise in that country's annual Big Bash League tournament. Big Bash League matches this season have attracted as many as 80,000 fans to a single game.
Following an outstanding batting performance by Gayle in Monday night's match between the Renegades and Hobart Hurricanes, the 6'4" slugger was interviewed just off the field by McLaughlin, a reporter for the Australian broadcaster Network Ten, as the match was still going on.
After McCalughlin asked Chris Gayle her first question, Gayle responded not by discussing his performance in the cricket match, but by appearing to ask the 36-year-old, once-divorced McLaughlin on a date.
"I just wanted to have an interview with you, that's why I batted so well," Gayle told McLaughlin. "To see your eyes for the first time is nice. Hopefully we can win this game and then we can have a drink after as well. Don't blush, baby."
A clearly startled McLaughlin responded, "I'm not blushing," and attempted to proceed with the interview.
View the interview, with Gayle's inappropriate comments to McLaughlin in the video below.
Gayle was hit with a fine of $10,000 by the Renegades — approximately $7,200 in United States cash — and offered an apology to McLaughlin for his comments toward her. But he also dismissed the controversy caused by his comments as "blown out of proportion," saying that his remarks to McLaughlin were "a simple joke" and that "there wasn't any harm done."
But another female Australian sports reporter, Neroli Meadows of Fox Network, said that Gayle had made similar remarks to her and other female sports journalists.
"He does this constantly. He has creepy behavior and the way he did it to Mel (McLaughlin) was just that," Meadows said.But on Tuesday, an even more serious allegation surfaced against Gayle, when a woman who worked assisting the West Indies cricket team at the World Cup last year said that Gayle exposed himself to her during a practice session.
The woman, who has not been named publicly, said that she believed all of the West Indies players were on the field when she entered the team's locker room in Sydney to attend to her duties.
Instead, she ran into Gayle in the locker room. The cricket star was clad only in a towel.
According to the woman's account, Gayle then lowered the towel, exposing himself, and asked her, "You looking for this?"
"It's that moment when you have a split second to react. I was shocked, and I just walked out," the woman told Australia's Fairfax Media.
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The woman informed West Indies team manager Richie Richardson about the incident, but Richardson took no action against Gayle, instead simply sending an email to all team members reminding them to treat women working at the World Cup respectfully.
McLaughlin said on Tuesday that she accepted Gayle's apology and now preferred to "move on."
View Gayle's "apology" in the video below.
Melbourne Renegades CEO, while fining Gayle, claimed that his remarks to McLaughlin were "a one-off," despite the reports of other women receiving similar treatment from the West Indies cricket star.
Chris Gayle had been authoring a regular column for Fairfax Media about his experiences in the Big Bash League competition. After the McLaughlin incident and the indecent exposure allegation against Gayle, the company fired Gayle as a columnist on Tuesday.
[Featured Photo By Darrian Trainer / Getty Images]