Words: Steve Brown
Shannon Gabriel says he has ‘no issues’ with people being gay after he is given a four-match ban and fined 75 per cent of his match fee.
During the Test match between the West Indies and England cricket teams, the bowler and England captain, Joe Root, were involved in a row where Root was heard saying, ‘Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay’.
Although, what Gabriel said to Root was not picked up on the microphone, the bowler faced backlash for a homophobic remark and on Tuesday (February 12), the International Cricket Council charged him for breaching Article 2.30.
In a statement, Gabriel revealed what was said during the match and claimed it was ‘psychological strategy’ and asked Root, ‘Do you like boys?’
He said: “I think I owe it to them (friends and well-wishers) and to all supporters of West Indies cricket to provide an accurate record of what happened.
“The exchange occurred during a tense moment on the field. The pressure was on and England’s captain Joe Root was looking at my intensely as I prepared to bowl, which may have been the usual psychological strategy with which all Test cricketers are familiar.
“I recognise now that I was attempting to break through my own tension when I said to Joe Root, ‘Why are you smiling at me? Do you like boys?’
“His response, which was picked up by the microphone, was, ‘Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay’.
“I then responded, ‘I have no issues with that, but you should stop smiling at me’.”
Now, the bowler admitted to his charge on ‘personal abuse’ and was given a four-match ban and fined 75 per cent of his match fee.