Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul asked to explain talk-show comments


The Committee of Administrators (CoA), which is overseeing the functioning of the BCCI, has issued show-cause notices to Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul seeking an explanation for comments they made on a TV show recently.

This followed closely on the heels of Pandya posting an apology on his Instagram feed for his comments, which had attracted widespread social-media backlash for their perceived misogyny, sexism and racism.

“We have sent show-cause notices to Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul for their comments,” Vinod Rai, the CoA chairman, told PTI. “They have [been] given 24 hours to give an explanation.”

The CoA decided to pull up Pandya and Rahul as contractual obligations include the players safe-guarding BCCI’s reputation.

In his apology, Pandya said he got “carried away with the nature of the show” and did not “mean to disrespect or hurt anyone’s sentiments.” Pandya’ father Himanshu defended his son saying he was “innocent” and the comments on the show should be taken “seriously”.

“I don’t think people should read too much into his comments,” Himanshu told the mid-day newspaper. “It was an entertainment show and his comments were made in a light- hearted manner. he was only looking to entertain the audience. So, it [ his comments] should not be viewed very seriously or negatively. He is an innocent boy with a very fun- loving nature.”

Pandya and Rahul appeared on the January 6 episode of Koffee With Karan, a popular talk show hosted by the Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar. In it, the two cricketers were asked several questions about their personal lives and relationships, and Pandya’s replies in particular came in for plenty of condemnation on social media.

“… the sheer disrespect and sexist way these guys discussed women and relationships made me cringe,” was one response on Twitter. “Cricket is a religion in this country and young boys watching the show are going to follow in the footsteps of their heroes. Do they not have any social responsibility?”

“Watching Koffee with Karan (or however you spell it) with Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul and the toxic masculinity and racism egged on by Karan Johar’s giggles are the reason why Indian men are encouraged to unapologetically misogynistic,” another tweet read. “Unfortunate!”

Ratnakar Shetty, the former BCCI general manager of cricket administration, also had his say, as did the commentator Harsha Bhogle.

This episode puts the BCCI and its attitude towards women in the spotlight once again, soon after the case of its CEO Rahul Johri, who was given a clean chit by a three-member independent inquiry committee that looked into allegations of sexual harrassment levelled against him by two women. Though the committee did not find Johri guilty, one of its members, the women’s rights lawyer Veena Gowda, said it was “essential that… [Johri] undergo some form of gender sensitivity counselling/training.”

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