The International Cricket Council has formally charged West Indies player Shannon Gabriel for an alleged homophobic sledging towards England captain Joe Root during a test in St. Lucia this week.
During the match, broadcaster stump microphone picked up the conversation which was mostly inaudible but Root’s response to Gabriel could be clearly heard with him replying “Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
Root declined to reveal what was said, but has been praised for the way he handled Gabriel’s anti-gay rant on the field.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain tweeted, “For me his twelve words as a role model will be in the end more important than a Test hundred or possible victory.”
On-field umpires Kumar Dharmasena and Rod Tucker appeared to have approached Gabriel after his questionable comment and reported the incident to match referee Jeff Crowe.
Stated in ICC’s code of conduct is the prohibition of using “language of a personal, insulting, obscene and/or offensive nature.”
The ICC announced via Twitter that the charge will be decided by Crowe.
“The charge, which was laid by match umpires, will now be dealt with by match referee Jeff Crowe,” it wrote.
Speaking with the Press Association, Stonewall Director of Sport Kirsty Clarke commented that language plays a big role in removing homophobia, especially in sports.
“Language is really influential and it’s great if Joe Root was willing to challenge potentially abusive comments.
“The more players, fans, clubs and organisations that stand up for equality in sport, the sooner we kick discrimination out and make sport everyone’s game.
“Stonewall research shows more than half of British people (58 per cent) believe it’s important anti-LGBT language is challenged at live sporting events,” Clarke said.
West Indies head coach Richard Pybus told BBC Radio he was unaware of the incident but they will look into what happened.
“Nothing has been reported to me but if a comment was made we’ll review it and if it was untoward we’ll be addressing it,” Pybus responded.