What’s the story?
It has been revealed that Australian spinner Steve O’Keefe’s recent fine and domestic ban was a result of his sexually offensive comments to female cricketer Rachel Haynes as well as partners of his national teammates during Cricket New South Wales’s (NSW) end-of-season awards function.
Channel Nine journalist Neil Breen confirmed, “He (O’Keefe) made comments to Rachel Haynes and her partner of a sexual nature but they weren’t homophobic. And if they were homophobic, you would find he probably would have been banned from the game. He’s admitted they were highly offensive, he’s fallen on his sword and he’s got the $20,000 fine and the ban from next year’s Matador Cup.
”Earlier in the evening, he had a crack at a lot of people in the room (including) officials. He said things to teammates, he’s said things to the partners of teammates. Some people tried to get him out of the function. Inexplicably, he was allowed into the after party after some of this behaviour.”
In case you didn’t know...
Rachel Haynes is a member of Australian women’s team. The 30-year old has played 3 Tests, 34 ODIs and 27 T20Is. Her 74-ball 52 was key to the Southern Stars lifting the 2013 World Cup title at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
The heart of the matter
With identical figures of 6/35 in both the first and second innings, O'Keefe was instrumental in Australia winning the first Test against India at Pune. Even though the visitors subsequently went on to lose the series, they had managed to salvage a memorable Test triumph from a challenging tour.
During an after party following the Steve Waugh Medal presentation at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney, the left-arm spinner made a slew of untoward remarks under the influence of alcohol. As a consequence, he was fined 20,000 AUD by Cricket Australia (CA) and also received a ban from this year’s domestic limited-overs competition.
Parallels from history
This was the not the first alcohol-related offence for O’Keefe. During August last year, he received a 10,000 AUD fine and a criminal infringement notice from NSW police for verbally abusing a security guard who had denied him entry to a Sydney hotel.
From the highs of Pune to these controversial incidents, O’Keefe has had an eventful career thus far. He is no doubt a talented spinner whose accuracy makes him tough to handle on biting pitches. However, the seasoned campaigner needs to avoid similar trysts with alcohol. With a place in the Australian team at stake, he cannot afford any more slip-ups off the field. More importantly, there’s no place for sexism in a sport like cricket which is not male-exclusive.