COMMENTARY: Shannon Gabriel: victim of thought and speech policing

Shannon Gabriel

It’s been said that sports and politics should not mix.  In reality, it’s hard to keep them apart. Especially in today’s egg-shell offence-easy world of political correctness.

Slapped with a 75% cut in match earnings and issued with just the right number of demerits to be banned for 4 one-day internationals, West Indian cricketer, Shannon Gabriel, was on the receiving end of the ire of the thought and speech police.

What Mr Gabriel said to cause this action was not recorded by the stump mic. Only the reply by English batter Joe Root was picked up.  Mr Root did not lodge a complaint against Gabriel.  He declined to repeat the comment to the media at the end of the day’s play.  He even said that the matter should stay on the field of Test Cricket. Root and Gabriel might have thought the matter was over.

But it wasn’t. Mr Root’s on-mic response that Gabriel’s words were an ‘insult’ facilitated the three umpires (and perhaps others unknown to us) deciding to press charges against Mr Gabriel for using ‘insulting language’.

As Mr Gabriel decided to accept the charges and penalty no hearing was held. It was only his press release that revealed to the public the actual words spoken, “why are you smiling at me? do you like boys?” Root’s reply put the spin – the negatives in his sentence; “Don’t …insult…nothing wrong” …and then the words, “being gay.”

Simply put, the essence of the conversation was a West Indian man expressing his disagreement with homosexuality and an English man expressing his acceptance. From the reports, Gabriel spoke no foul language, exercised no physical intimidation, certainly did not shout, but merely verbally expressed his disagreement with homosexuality. And for this non-violent verbal expression of a personally held opinion, the International Cricket Council punished the West Indian.

We should not be surprised. That 3-letter word can cause great discombobulation these days. If someone is seen as not supporting ‘gay’, some media jump in to push an illogical and unscientifically supported political cause against the person. Unsurprisingly, LGBT advocates have exploited the opportunity to promote their intolerant ‘tolerance’. Why-are-you-smiling-at-me-do-you-like-boys was labelled as ‘offensive’ and ‘abusive’ (Stonewall, UK lgbt lobby group) and ‘homophobic abuse’ (the UK Sports Minister). The headline of UK newspaper The Guardian was, ‘England captain has done cricket a great service… his reaction to a perceived homophobic remark was cool, calm, collected … and right.’

Thankfully, other cricket commentators, former players and cricket fans around the globe have questioned the charge and criticised the heavy penalty for a perceived offence.

It may be of little comfort, but Mr Gabriel should know that he is not alone.  Last December, a 38 year-old British mother Kate Scottow, was arrested in front of her two children, one still being breastfed, and locked up for seven hours after saying on Twitter that a transgender woman, that is a man dressing up as and claiming to be a woman, is in fact, still a man.

This mother was charged with harassment and malicious communications and her laptop and mobile phone confiscated. While in detention she was denied access to sanitary products which she needed.  She was issued an interim injunction banning her from posting on Twitter that the man pretending to be a woman is a man.

Mr Gabriel might prefer the hit to his pocket than the jail time, but we in the Caribbean must not allow ourselves to be deceived or dismiss his case as trivial. Threats to our freedom of conscience and speech by political lobby groups cannot be lightly summed up as ‘ah so it go’. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. We must be clear and committed to speaking the truth in all spheres. Neither transgenderism, homosexuality nor homosexual behaviour is normal.  Compassion is a must for persons experiencing identity confusion or same-sex attraction but the efforts to normalise what is abnormal must be rejected at all times, on and offline, on and off the sporting field.

Philippa Davies

Advocacy Officer/Attorney-at-law

Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society

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  1. Channel 1
    February 21, 2019

    That’s so typical of the homosexual agenda and their propagandists – they preach a hypocritical cry of tolerance but what some folks fail to realize is the homosexual agenda is only interested in ‘tolerance for views that speak positively of their agenda’.

    Any view that does not express support for the perverted homosexual agenda is not tolerated.

    The legalization of homosexuality has opened the door for the legalization of all other forms of sexual perversion. Hence the reason we have certain groups including some psychologists in some parts of Europe now becoming more embolden to say that pedophilia ought not be viewed as an abnormal sexual orientation. It’s all on the internet y’all.

    After all, the pedophile, the animal lover and the practitioners of other sexual perversions can all say they were ‘born that way’ and hence ought not be discriminated against as they have their rights to free expression and inclusion and diversity & yadda yadda.

    Utter rubbish!!!

    • Calibishie Warrior
      February 21, 2019

      I was in need of a good laugh tonight… And thanks.. You provided it. Almost everything in your post is not only without foundation, it is almost as if you have tried to find the most wrong thing to write and put it here.. “It’s all on the internet y’all”.
      To date 27 countries have legalized same sex marriage (Wikipedia) .a total of 0 have legalized any other sexual practices.. In fact some of these have some of the harshest penalties for child or animal abuse. For every crackpot ‘psychologist’ exposing relaxation of existing penalties on deviants there are more practitioners of horrific aversion therapy today visiting physical, psychological and spiritual harm on innocents.. Not to mention priests and pastors practicing their evil on kids up to this day.
      No one has been more intolerant than the anti gay brigade from the ” fyah bun dem” bigots to the Nazis under Hitler. Leave the people alone to love who they want.. Ain’t nothing to do with you.

      • Calibishie Warrior
        February 22, 2019

        Sorry… i meant ‘conversion therapy’ .. not aversion therapy… which is something else

  2. jeff
    February 21, 2019

    Gabriel said something he should not have said,he apologised, he did not deny it or said I ment something else he was a man and took responsilibty not blaming anyone else. Lets hope everyone has learnt something from this, So whats the problem? There are more important things happening in the world than name calling.

  3. Bob Denis
    February 20, 2019

    Think before you speak , at this present time , anything negatively said against same sex will cost you , Gabriel should be aware of that . He is risking a great lot if he wants to play on this pitch . This is not long time , when one can call another man a “MACO” , the policies of the US and her Allies in entwined with Nations forced to accept same sex or face the consequences , Individuals included .

  4. Calibishie Warrior
    February 19, 2019

    This is typical ‘bury your head in the sand’ codswallop. Shannon Gabriel fell into default mode macho man bigoted behavior while under stress. Behavior which is unacceptable especially on the field of fair play. To even be seen to be condoning this by an officer of the court is reprehensible. Is this how we want our kids playing the game? How we want them behaving generally?. Gabriel is, whether he likes it or not, is a role model. His statement , whatever you say about his motivation, demonstrates an understanding of that. I would like to believe it was genuine. This is an opportunity for growth, not just for him, but for us as a community. This article is living proof of that.

  5. Tony
    February 19, 2019

    Very sad that we sometime admit fault as Gabriel did. It was a simply question … but he allowed it to be interpreted otherwise. But it is all about destroying family values and sex trade of all sorts.

  6. Ti Garcon
    February 19, 2019

    How can someone be charged and fined so harshly for something there is no evidence of, and no complaints made.

  7. Huh??
    February 19, 2019

    This is a perfect example of how we are penalized. These rules are never applied fairly. Gabriel’s words were not pick up by the mic but the English man made sure he repeated it so the stump mic could. This was by design, Joe Root know what he was doing. Don’t be fooled by his pretense. That’s how they win.

    • Joseph John
      February 19, 2019

      Racial or gender prejudice is not normal either. Abortion is not normal. Calling people insulting names because they can see through their hidden motives is not normal. Harassing people to withdraw from a position usuing fear , shame and scandal is not normal. So what is normal behavior… I have no idea, but maybe you can enlighten me. Calling people spampot be cause you do not support their slant is not normal either

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