Shannon Gabriel
Shannon Gabriel (AFP Photo)

Following is the text of statement released by West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel following the turn of events in St Lucia:-

February 13, 2019

STATEMENT FROM SHANNON GABRIEL

It is now public knowledge that I have been disciplined with a four-match ban for a comment made on the field during the third Test match between the West Indies and England in St Lucia.

To my team-mates and members or the England team, especially their captain Joe Root, I extend an unreserved apology for a comment which in the context of on-the-field rivalry, I assumed was inoffensive picong and sporting banter. I know now that it was offensive and for that I am deeply sorry.

A number of friends and well-wishers have reached out to me, anxious to offer their support and to enquire about exactly what had happened.

I think I owe it to them and to all supporters of West Indies cricket to provide an accurate record of what transpired. This is the spirit in which I offer the following,

The exchange occurred during a tense moment on the field. The pressure was on and England’s captain Joe Root was looking at me Intensely as I prepared to bowl, which may have been the usual psychological strategy with which all Test cricketers are familiar. I recognize 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.”

Following the incident, on the advice of the Manager of the West Indies team, I signed a document presented to ma which confirmed that I had breached the ICC’s Code of Conduct. Since I had signed it, there was no need for a hearing and the ICC determined that I should serve a four-match suspension.

Joe Root and I have since spoken and I am comforted by the fact that there are no hard feelings between us. I think it is fair to say that neither or us ever expected the issue to escalate to the point that it has. Nonetheless, 1 embrace this as a learning experience and as an opportunity for myself and ell athletes 10 recognize the need for sensitivity and respect their interactions with all.