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    February 27, 2008

    Harbhajan v/s Hayden & Ponting

    Apparently during an India v Australia game at Adelaide ten days ago or so, there was a fair amount of banter between Ponting and Harbhajan, going by this PTI report.
    Apparently, Ponting kept having a go at Harbhajan in Adelaide, asking him "to show what he had got" in the middle.

    Harbhajan, on his part, had then cheekily remarked: "Mate, whatever I have shown in the middle has been better than yours' in the series so far."

    It appeared to have stung the Australian captain who asked Harbhajan to "f... off" after the latter was dismissed.
    If the dialogue reported did indeed happen, it is a superb response from Harbhajan! Remember that at that point in time, Ricky Ponting had scored 25 runs from 5 innings, which he duly rectified the moment he got a nice batting track at Sydney to score a century. Harbhajan, in contrast, had 3/74 from 22 overs.

    I totally loved that retort. Does anyone else also think that Hayden's comments to the Brisbane radio station on Harbhajan being an 'obnoxious little weed' and about taking on Ishant in a boxing ring should land him in quite a lot of trouble?

    As per the ICC's code of conduct, using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting is a level-1 offence (upto 50% of the match fee penalty). Using language that is obscene, offensive or of a seriously insulting nature (barring the verbals that happen during a game) is a level-2 offence (upto 100% of the match fee penalty and a 1 test/2 ODI ban). After the appeal hearing, Harbhajan was found guilty of a level-2 offence.

    Obnoxious implies Harbhajan is annoying, offensive or disgustingly objectionable. Little refers to Harbhajan being smaller-built in comparison to Hayden (and the rest of his teammates). This is obviously a case of racial stereotyping, and hence vilification (just like Tony Greig's "Those little Shri Lonkans" chant). Weed again refers to Harbhajan being obnoxious and detrimental.

    Clearly this is a case of offensive and seriously insulting language. If someone tells me I'm a weed, I'd be pretty offended and feel insulted about it, since it implies that I shouldn't be existing. Add in the 'little' part and this very clearly qualifies as a racist remark. Actually this also makes for a libel/defamation suit since Hayden said "That is why he's been charged more than anyone that has ever played in the history of cricket." while referring to Harbhajan. That is totally incorrect. As pointed out in an earlier post, Inzamam has been charged the most number of times.

    Yet, I have this nagging feeling Hayden will be let off by Cricket Australia and the ICC, despite being charged with breaching the Code of Behaviour, with a minor slap on the wrists and receive a letter that reads something like
    Dear Matthew,
    I saw your remark on Harbhajan being an 'obnoxious little weed' the other day.

    I'd be really grateful if you could tone down your language. We've got tons of problems with those BCCI buggers. We need the money!

    We'll be putting out a media release soon charging you under some clause of our code of conduct. Let me know if that is ok with you.


    James (CEO, just in case you forgot)

    PS: I loved your imitation of Ishant's Indian accent *ROFLMAO*
    Update at 6.30 pm: Was I clairvoyant or what? Hayden has been 'reprimanded'. Basically, he's got away with it. Perhaps insulting opposition players is acceptable for Cricket Australia.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 6:35 pm |
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    4 sledge(s):

    You clearly do not realise that all the Australian team are gods and above reproach. I think the problem is that they win too much and so think they can do as they please ... not that is their fault.

    By Blogger Rob (27 Feb 2008, 7:17:00 pm)  

    Hayden 's justification for his comment- Mathew Hayden says he is innocent
    - a funny take on the incident

    By Blogger Unknown (27 Feb 2008, 10:36:00 pm)  

    Sorry mate, but you're completely wrong. "Obnoxious little weed" is just about the mildest insult in the English language.

    I don't know how you contrived to extract racist content from that pretty straight-forward and childish retort, but you're clearly looking for it. In any case, jumps in reasoning do not create racism.

    I found it rather hillarious when you suggested that Harbhajan could take libel action. Imagine the court of law that had to prove who exactly was the most annoying cricketing in test cricket of all time!

    By Blogger The Atheist (28 Feb 2008, 4:48:00 pm)  

    "Obnoxious little weed" is not subjected to libel action.

    I could dump in legal mumbo-jumbo here, but to keep things fairly simple, you can't really compare a human to weed.

    "He's a bastard", and "he's son of a bitch" are both discourteous, to use a euphemism, but only the former could be taken for libel.

    By Blogger Dinnie (29 Feb 2008, 12:44:00 am)  

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