Chris Gayle has said he will sue Fairfax Media for defamation after it published allegations he exposed himself to a woman while in Sydney to train for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
The 36-year-old West Indies player issued a statement on Thursday saying he had retained media lawyer Mark O’Brien and would “immediately commence defamation proceedings against Fairfax Media”.
“Cricketer Chris Gayle has strongly denied allegations first published by Fairfax Media that he indecently exposed himself to a woman during last year’s World Cup in Sydney,” the statement said.
“Despite such denial, Fairfax Media continues to publish the false and defamatory allegations which have received widespread republication in media throughout the world.”
The allegations, first published on Wednesday, were made by an Australian woman who was working around the players. She said that she went into the team dressing room to get a sandwich after she thought the team had left and found Gayle, who allegedly partially exposed his genitals and asked “Are you looking for this?”
The allegation has reportedly damaged the chances that Gayle will return to play in the Big Bash League.
It followed the Melbourne Renegades decision fine Gayle $10,000 for comments he made to female Sports Journalist Mel McLaughlin in a live pitchside interview during Monday’s Big Bash League game between Gayle’s Renegades and the Hobart Hurricanes.
Gayle told McLaughlin she had beautiful eyes and asked her out for a drink. When McLaughlin, who appeared uncomfortable, returned to a question about the match, he said: “Don’t blush, baby.”
He later apologised for any offence caused to McLaughlin, saying it was a “simple joke”.
“There wasn’t anything meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel. If she felt that way, I’m really sorry for that,” he said.
McLaughlin told Channel 10’s The Project that she accepted his public apology, saying: “I just want to move on.”
The Renegades, chief executive, Stuart Coventry, described the timing of the woman’s allegations as “opportunistic”, sparking criticism from his employer,Cricket Victoria. Its boss, Tony Donemaide, said: “We certainly don’t condone the reported comments attributed to Stuart this morning and we’re looking into it further.
“Cricket Victoria are committed to demonstrating that our sport respects girls and women and were working incredibly hard to ensure that is the case.”
Cricket Victoria and Melbourne Renegades will both be subject to mandatory quotas of 40% women on their governing boards if the Victorian government accepts a parliamentary committee’s recommendation to improve gender equity in sport.
Fairfax Media declined to comment.