An Australian woman, who was working around the West Indies team in Sydney, has detailed the incident to Fairfax Media. In the course of her work 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 says he pulled down to partially expose his genitals to her while saying to her: “Are you looking for this?”
Now, it’s pretty clear that Chris Gayle is a serial offender when it comes to unacceptable attitudes and behaviours towards women and needs to be pulled into line. There seems to be no shortage of people prepared to that with Ian Chapell, one of the most respected cricketers in Australia, suggesting he should be thrown out of international cricket.
Which he probably richly deserves.
So defending him is always going to be defending the indefensible. But with the “Sandwichgate” incident, it may be necessary to get the little bit of perspective.
It would be completely unacceptable for a man to walk into the changing room of an international women’s cricket team looking for a sandwich. And if that man happened to be Chris Gayle then all hell would be let loose. And there would be some serious questions asked about the man’s motivation even if he did say he was just looking for a sandwich.
Obviously this woman gave no thought to the unintended consequences of walking into a male dressing. Perhaps if she had and decided to buy a pie at the canteen, she would have avoided being so upset.
All of us who have played competitive sport know that the changing room is not a place where you would take your mother or your sister and if they insisted on going in, you would warn them that they might be upset, insulted or that they would see naked males.
None of this doesn’t makes Chris Gayle’s behaviour acceptable but sometimes there are some really predictable consequences of one’s behaviour and this seems to be one of those situations.