Cricket stars land in hot water over sexist comments on ‘Koffee With Karan’

It was meant to be a fun, no-holds-barred interaction but cricketer Hardik Pandya, by his own admission, got “carried away”.

Appearing on “Koffee with Karan”, hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar, with teammate K L Rahul, Pandya’s apparent loose talk on women and his sexuality took many by surprise.

Three days after the celebrity chat show aired on Sunday, the two cricketers on Wednesday were issued show cause notices by the BCCI, which took note of the massive outrage on social media and elsewhere.

For most of the show, it was Pandya, who issued an apology for the remarks called sexist and misogynistic, who took it upon himself to say the most outrageous things, mostly on women.

Sample this: “Why don’t you ask women’s names at nightclubs?” asked Johar when Pandya spoke about his struggle in remembering names of the women he interacts with in parties.

“I like to watch and observe how they move. I’m little from the Black side so I need to see how they move,” responded Pandya.

From that to talk on his sex life, Pandya’s brashness did not taper down.

“When I lost my virginity, I came home and said, “Main karke aaya hai aaj (I did it today),” was his response to a question on how “cool” he is with his family members.

“At a party my parents asked me acha tera wala (women) kaun sa hai (Which are your women)? I said yeh, yeh, yeh (pointing out women) and they were like waah proud of you beta,” he went on to add to stress on the “cool quotient” of his family.

The line of questioning to the two cricketers also seemed excessively focussed on women — the ones they have dated, those they wish to date and which of them was the more attractive one.

“If you all hit on the same women, then how do you decide?” asked the filmmaker. Rahul’s response was, “up to the woman.” Pandya was more outspoken. “Nahi nahi aisa kuch nahi hai, talent pe hota hai. Jisko mila woh leke jao (Nothing like that, it’s about talent, whoever gets them, takes them),” said the all-rounder with a little shrug of the shoulders.

The 25-year-old later said he got carried away by the “nature of the show” and is currently busy drafting a response to the BCCI show cause notice.

Rahul’s comments on the show have not drawn any criticism but the fact that the duo appeared together perhaps also had him caught in the social media storm.

Ironically, Rahul was questioned about his thoughts on social media on the show, whether he thought of it is a blessing or a curse. “It’s a bit of both. It’s how you see it,” he stated. To that same question, Pandya, with a wink, responded, “blessing.”

On the show, Pandya had boasted about hooking up with multiple women and being open about it with his parents. Rahul was, however, a little more restrained in his responses on relationships and women.

When asked by the host Karan Johar if they had “done it in teammates’ rooms,” both Pandya and Rahul responded in the positive.

Pandya later posted his apology on Twitter.

“After reflecting on my comments on Koffee with Karan, I would like to apologise to everyone concerned who I may have hurt in any way,” he said.

“Honestly, I got a bit carried away with the nature of the show. In no way did I mean to disrespect or hurt anyone’s sentiments. Respect,” the cricketer added.

Spilled milk and all – the BCCI’s CoA next stepped in, sending a show cause notice to Pandya and also KL Rahul, giving them 24 hours to reply. Pandya’s email response came within a few hours.

“I made certain statements without realising that these could be disrespectful and offend sensitivities of viewers for which I am sincerely regretful. Rest assured I hold the BCCI in highest regard and will exercise complete discretion and prudence to ensure that such incidents are never repeated in future,” he said.

BCCI steps in and suspends players

The BCCI has suspended all-rounder Hardik Pandya and opener KL Rahul pending an inquiry into their “misconduct” after their controversial comments on Koffee with Karan. The duo were sent back home, which rules them out of the three-match ODI series in Australia, and the subsequent tour to New Zealand.

The Committee of Administrators (CoA) sent fresh show-cause notices (separately) to the players on Friday evening, informing them about their suspension, “with immediate effect”, and debarring them from playing/participating in any BCCI, ICC and/or state association tournament/event until the final adjudication of the matter.

“You are aware that enquiry and proceedings against you for misconduct and indiscipline have been initiated under Rule 41 of the BCCI Constitution and the same are presently pending.” “In terms of Rule 41(6) of the BCCI Constitution, you are hereby suspended with immediate effect from participating in any manner whatsoever in any match or function or event or activity that is authorized, organized, sanctioned, recognized or supported in any way by the BCCI, the ICC or any State Association, until final adjudication of the matter,” the CoA communications to Pandya and Rahul said.

The decision to suspend the players was taken after the CoA member Diana Edulji consulted the BCCI’s legal team.The legal team added that the CoA would be “justified in and entitled to” appoint an ad-hoc ombudsman, “with a defined specific mandate of adjudicating on the present matter”.

Sensitizing players beyond the locker room

A 25-year-old cricketer went on a chat show of his own volition, shared his own views and talked about the relationship he shared with his own family. However, as is mostly the case with anything in Indian cricket, the onus of Pandya’s behaviour was soon dumped on the BCCI.

Former BCCI general manager of cricket administration Ratnakar Shetty said it was time the board “take corrective steps for cricketers who talk rubbish on public platforms” while Harsha Bhogle expressed his wish that the “BCCI spends time in sensitising these young players to life beyond the dressing room”.

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