Banned Gibbs happy to be cleared of racism
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 1st February 2007
Herschelle Gibbs said Thursday he was disappointed that his appeal
against a Test match ban failed but he was glad that he had been
cleared of racism.
The South African batsman will miss the third Test against Pakistan
starting at Newlands Friday as well as a Twenty20 international and the
first of five one-day internationals against the same opponents next
Gibbs was originally banned for two Tests but in terms of the ICC code,
the punishment was amended to take account of the next matches the
player was due to appear in.
Despite the ban, Gibbs was delighted that ICC appeals commissioner
Richie Benaud had concluded that he was not a racist.
Gibbs said in a statement: "I am really disappointed to be missing the
Test match in front of my home ground and the next two matches the
Proteas will be playing.
"However, I am glad that I have now had a proper opportunity to explain
myself. I feel it is important that Mr Benaud has confirmed that I am
not racist. I have apologised if my remarks inadvertently caused
offence, and that apology still stands."
Cricket South Africa has dropped its own disciplinary action against
Gibbs following remarks made by the player about a section of the crowd
which were picked up and broadcast by a stump microphone during the
first Test against Pakistan in Centurion earlier this month.
Gerald Majola, CSA chief executive, said the national body accepted
"We particularly welcome the fact that Mr Benaud has emphatically
cleared Herschelle of any allegations of racism," said Majola. "The
CSA's disciplinary hearing was set before the ICC announced its
charges. Consequently, CSA's hearing was postponed by disciplinary
commissioner Judge Mervyn King until after the ICC had completed its
hearings arising from the same circumstances. Now that the ICC has
completed its process, we have decided that there is no point in
charging Herschelle twice in this matter."
South African captain Graeme Smith earlier criticised the ICC after the
appeal was rejected.
He said at his captain's pre-match press conference: "It is
disappointing. We have one or two gripes with the ICC and maybe this is
not the forum to discuss it. Maybe we need to get on the phone with
(cricket general manager) Dave Richardson and (chief executive)
Malcolm Speed and discuss these things. We are disappointed at losing
Herschelle. We just want to see consistency in decision making around
the world. We've experienced things that haven't been dealt with."
Smith was believed to be referring to incidents that involved the South
African team in Australia last season in which it was alleged racist
remarks had been made against the South African players.
In the ICC statement, Benaud said: "At Chris Broad's hearing (Pakistan
team manager) Talat Ali spoke about the offence the words used by
Herschelle would give to the whole Pakistan nation. I am not surprised.
However, as an Appeals Commissioner and a person, I certainly do not
consider Herschelle to be a racist and I take great exception to the
suggestion, in the same way I believe Chris Broad would object (to
suggestions his finding would do the same)."
While Smith was critical of the ICC, he appeared to have softened his
stance on stump microphones after saying at Centurion that he believed
television companies were to blame for leaving the microphones on
instead of switching them off immediately after a ball had been bowled.
"Stump mikes are there," said Smith. "They're part and parcel of the
game. You can't even talk at third man now. There's a part of me that
would like them to be turned down but there's a part of me that
realises cricket is a sport that's got to compete with other sports
around the world. I'm sure there are people around the world who want
to hear what's going on."
Gibbs' remarks were in reaction to abusive spectators.
According to Majola and newspaper reports the words allegedly used by
Gibbs included "these f… Pakistani animals", a reference to "f…
baboons" and a suggestion that the spectators should "f… off back to