When it’s ok to be controversial

Case Study A:
Adam Gilchrist speaks at a football club members luncheon.. asked whether he thinks Muttiah Muralitharan throws the ball, replies that Murali’s action “is probably not quite within [the rules]”.

Official Reaction:
The Australian Cricket Board charges Gilchrist with bringing the game into disrepute and issue a statement saying that they do not support his opinions.

Gilchrist receives an official reprimand after three days of intense media attention.

Case Study B:
Mark Butcher, speaking in a ghosted column for a local south London weekly, comments on the bowling action of Sri Lankan paceman Ruchira Perera, who was reported by the umpires after the First Test at Lord’s. Butcher’s ghost said that “when he [Perera] bowls short, he just runs up and throws it at you…”

Official Reaction:
More than a week (and the passage of a Test match) later, Butcher is summoned to appear before an ECB Disciplinary Committee. The ICC series referee could probably take action of his own, these comments relating to a tour in progress, however there are no indications so far that he will do this.

To be known within a fortnight.

Case Study C:
South African batsman Graeme Smith, quoted in the South African edition of Sports Illustrated, describes in detail what he says are incidents of intense sledging by Australian players during the recent tour. Taunts are alleged to have included repeated cries of “you’re a f&#%$@g c&#t” and a threat by a bowler to “kill him” after a mid-pitch collision. Smith also claimed that umpire Rudi Koertzen shrugged his shoulders at Smith after one sledging episode.

Official Reaction:
From the United Cricket Board of South Africa, nothing.

Conclusion: Gilchrist has been disciplined (however mildly) for making negative comments about an opposition player. Butcher is about to be disciplined (probably mildly) for making negative comments about an opposition player. Smith makes negative comments about opposition players and about an umpire.

Why is no action being taken against Graeme Smith?

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