Cricketer Hardik Pandya’s comments on a TV chat show hosted by Karan Johar have triggered a debate on social media. His answers on the show were deemed “sexist” and “misogynistic”. Even though Hardik soon took to social media and posted a public apology, it was followed by a show cause notice being issued to him and cricketer KL Rahul — who accompanied him on the said show — by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Hardik also issued a statement in which he stated that he is “sincerely regretful” for the comments that he made on the show.
Post this debacle, Indian cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle tweeted, “It is all very well to issue show-cause notices now to KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya. But I do wish the BCCI spends time in sensitising these young players to life beyond the dressing room; to getting them outside the bubble that is inevitable given the adulation they get.”
We contacted former and present Indian cricketers and asked them what they think of the notice issued to the young players.
Former cricketer Nikhil Chopra feels that it is very important for any sportsman who is playing international cricket to be very careful about what he says on any chat show or talk show which is being watched by the masses. “As cricketer, they have to be careful because they are considered role models. You want to send the right sort of message which will be inspirational for the youth. It cannot be anything derogatory. You are a sportsman of international repute and you want to send the right message to them. No matter what you do in your private life, when you come in the public you have to set the right example as a responsible person,” he says.
Cricketer Ishant Sharma, though he hasn’t watched the episode, feels that every person in a democracy has a right to express his opinion freely. He also feels that how one conducts himself in public is very individual. “Yes, you should be a role model, but then you can’t separate an individual from their individuality. We live in a democratic country, and yet, if someone expresses their opinion, we troll them, say nasty things about them. Why are we calling ourselves a democracy, then? He said what he felt, just that his comments got more attention because he is a celebrity. I believe it’s easy to talk about things from a distance,” shares Sharma.
Former player Atul Wassan, however, feels that the show cause notice was not required at all and he was personally very shocked by BCCI’s response to the whole incident. “They are young boys, they are achievers. Why do people expect them to be this epitome of virtue and morality? I don’t know why anybody has the perception that anybody in the limelight has to be perfect. We should not contort it into something that he is misogynist or something like that. It is highly unfair and we are putting an extra pressure on them,” he opines.
Wassan further goes on to say, “BCCI is also very sensitive about issues they want the players to be sensitised about it but you can’t be given a harsh slap like this. I’m sure if somebody commits a great felony or something then they will be punished but for things like this individual expression, it is not right.”
It is all very well to issue show-cause notices now to KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya. But I do wish the BCCI spends time in sensitising these young players to life beyond the dressing room; to getting them outside the bubble that is inevitable given the adulation they get.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 9, 2019
Another former cricketer, Deep Dasgupta asserts that “conduct is a very important aspect for all contractual players” and BCCI was well within its rights to issue a show cause notice to the players. “Their conduct is part of the contract and players have to abide by that,” he says.
According to PTI, Hardik in his response to the notice,stated how he made these statements “in the flow of the show” and had not comprehended the extent to which his statements would be found offensive. We tried contacting Karan Johar but he was unavailable for a comment.
First Published: Jan 10, 2019 18:24 IST