Melbourne Renegades import Chris Gayle has offered an apology of sorts after his comments to Network Ten reporter Mel McLaughlin during Monday's Big Bash League saw him accused of sexism.
After smashing 41 runs off 15 balls, Mel McLaughlin asked Gayle about the aggression on display in the Renegades' innings during their win over the Hurricanes and the ex-West Indies Test captain took the interview in a completely different direction.
"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," he said.
"Hopefully we can win this game and we can have a drink later. Don't blush, baby."
A visibly rattled McLaughlin responded by saying: "I'm not blushing."
Gayle said it was "a simple joke ... that went out of proportion" and offered a begrudging apology.
"There wasn't anything meant to be disrespectful or offensive to Mel," he said after arriving back in Melbourne on Tuesday.
"If she felt that way, I'm really sorry for that. There wasn't any harm meant in that particular way, to harm any particular person in any particular way like that."
Gayle attempted to brush off the controversy, saying: "It's just one of those things. Crap happens."
Network Ten head of sport David Barham told radio station 3AW McLaughlin "was angry and she was upset" after the fact.
"She was doing her best to get an insightful interview about the cricket, that's what her job is," Barham told 3AW.
"She was asking him legitimate questions about cricket and he turned it into talking about her eyes. She was a bit taken aback, embarrassed. I thought it was a bit demeaning.
"I talked to her for four or five minutes and she was pretty composed really and agreed we just have to get on with the game and that's what she did. I thought she handled it brilliantly."
When Gayle was asked about Barham's comments, he seemed reluctant to accept that McLaughlin was made uncomfortable by the remarks as she had not spoken publicly.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said he was "not ruling out sanctions".
"We need to work through and take advice from relevant people as to what the right approach is going to be," he told reporters on ladies' day at the SCG Test.
BBL boss admonishes Gayle for 'inappropriate' comments
Big Bash League boss Anthony Everard said he had "direct conversation" with Gayle about his remarks.
"And we've made it very, very clear to him that in our view his comments were completely inappropriate and disrespectful, entirely inconsistent with the broader approach of what BBL is trying to do which is to engage families, women and children," he said.
The Ten Sport TV Twitter account had tweeted a quote from the interview with the hashtag 'smooth'.
It was later deleted and play-by-play commentator Mark Howard issued an apology on-air shortly after.
"It must be pointed out that Mel is a wonderful, professional, informed sports broadcaster and a valued member of Network Ten and on reflection, I don't think that's appropriate for what's required in that format," he said.
"Chris is an entertainer and he's a joker, but I think he probably went a bit too far there."
"I hope we don't see any of it again and Mel will be back for her next interview prepared and ready to go as she always is," he added.
Gayle interview not uncharted territory for McLaughlin
It is not the first time McLaughlin has had to shake off an uncomfortable interaction with a West Indian Renegade.
In 2014, all-rounder Dwayne Bravo left the commentary team lost for words after delivering a "special message", also following a win over the Hobart Hurricanes.
"I just want to say hello to Mel. Beautiful Mel," he said.
"I was lucky enough to meet her once in Sydney. Just want to say she's still looking beautiful."
It left McLaughlin in the awkward position of having to transition to talking about how well Bravo played in the game, but not before co-commentator Ricky Ponting weighed in.
"That was slightly uncomfortable," the ex-Australia captain said.
Socceroos star Tim Cahill also appeared to put McLaughlin on the back foot when he greeted her with a kiss on the cheek before a live post-match interview.
Gayle also has form in this area from his BBL days with the Sydney Thunder in 2012.
Fox Sports reporter Jessica Yates wished him and the team luck on their trip to Perth, prompting Gayle to ask: "Are you coming to Perth?"
When Yates said she would not make the trip, Gayle's attention turned to her replacement, Sarah Jones.
"I'll look after Sarah for sure, definitely. See what happens with her," a giggling Gayle said.
He was also widely criticised for his comments to a female reporter who asked him about how the pitch felt ahead of a Caribbean Premier League game in Antigua in 2014.
Gayle responded: "Well I haven't touched yours yet, so I don't know how it feels."
It prompted accusations of sexism and hegemony from women's rights group Women Against Rape.