The mess the two male chauvinistic cricketers, who do not seem to have heard of the #MeToo movement, find themselves in is of their own doing. They have had a further setback in the internecine warfare between the two distinguished members of the Committee of Administrators leading to such a split over how the punishment for the crime is to be handled that the players have had to wait long just to get a hearing. Meanwhile, more ODIs may slip away in the Antipodes, but then Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul are not a duo who would be eliciting the highest quality of mercy in anyone for all the crass words they endowed on virtually half the population. They deserve the interim wait for justice as well as any punishment that would ultimately be handed down for their indiscretion.
Just imagine these instant millionaire young cricketers could be so shorn of class as to treat women as ‘prey’ in this age of awareness! What they spouted on a television chat show bound to reach millions in cricket-films mad India was bad old locker room banter of the type heard in the old amateur days when callow youth became instant celebrities if they so much as paraded their cricket skills well enough to merit a national call. They were unlikely to have raised that snigger, smile, nod and wink even in the old days if they had said all this outside of the cricket dressing room. Cricket may have begun as a male chauvinistic pursuit in the UK in a different day and age. It matured long ago as it evolved into this modern, pro sport.
It might have become possible in this age of inclusiveness to forgive his cultural appropriation of a bejewelled, gold-loving generation of black sportsmen. But his racist expression of his being on the "black side" and hence needing to observe women, thus reducing them to sex objects, was an unforgivable excess for which alone Hardik had to pay the price. It did seem Rahul was much less of a culprit with regard to putting down women, but then he was not without blame either. It was the sheer brazen attitude of chauvinism that had to be censured. And we don’t even need the pious "every woman is a mother or sister" kind of sentiment to be able to condemn their words unequivocally. What were they thinking in this age of the #MeToo movement when every wronged woman has been able to find a cathartic release of pent-up emotions of hurt?
There was another personality behind this episode of runaway male libido who too needs to be punished to some extent. Karan Johar was the perpetrator and news was just about emerging that the show might face the axe from Star that has such a huge stake in entertainment, including cricket in India. If the anchor wanted some dressing room banter he could have triggered it off camera for his own enjoyment rather than trap youngsters into such mindless admissions in public just to satisfy some egoistic TRP game based on sensationalism. As if to prove that there was no bottom to the depths he could draw others into than in getting Pandya to talk about how he boasted about his sexuality to his parents. Such admissions are blasphemy even in these so-called sexually liberated times in our country. They may be hot-headed young cricketers, but they too could have been forgiven since they had already been lambasted roundly for their indiscretions and had their professional playing programme disrupted in being pulled out
mid-tour. But it was the BCCI’s cussed power politics play that made all this worse. We have a fair suspicion whose interests the likes of Diana Edulji represents in her putting a spoke in the CoA chief’s wheel.
Ironically, it is the national team’s interest that is suffering with regard to preparation for the upcoming World Cup as two crucial members of the ODI combination are being made to cool their heels while the top court has been dragged into the matter quite needlessly and asked to decide their fate. The amicus curiae, who had been doing a splendid job for the court in cricket matters, has had a change of heart now and the delay as the court seeks the services of another can only make this considerably worse. The mess cricket admin is in is not new, but the old admin men seem to be chuckling with schadenfreude looking at how a two-member committee can tie itself up in knots when they stand divided.
(R. Mohan is the Resident Editor of the Tamil Nadu and Chennai editions of Deccan Chronicle)...