Dean Jones, who has a career test batting
average of 44.65 and a yearly “put foot in mouth” average of 2.7, has added
another entry to the ever-growing list of insensitive comments by
Australian cricketers, both current and retired.

Who could forget when David Hookes
described South African woman
Helen Cohen Alon as a “Dopey, hairy-backed sheila”
after she made s-x allegations concerning Shane Warne? And then there was
Darren Lehmann’s comment about Sri Lankan players
which lead to a five match ban.

This time, it only took Jones six words to
lose his job and make headline news in two countries: “The terrorist has got another wicket”, he said, after
devout Muslim and South African all-rounder Hashim Amla took a catch in a Test
match in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

“The switchboards of both Cricket South Africa and SuperSport, that
takes a feed of the broadcast to South African audiences, have been jammed with
calls from some very angry people,” Cricket South Africa’s chief executive
Gerald Majola said,
before adding: “We just cannot get away from the Aussies as far as such racists
incidents are concerned.”

While that last point may itself raise the
ire of Australian cricket administrators and fans, Crikey can’t help but notice
the contrasting sense and nonsense in Jones’ explanations.

“Everyone needs to get away from perpetuating the myth, publicly and
privately, that beards associated with the Muslim faith are somehow suspicious,
and I intend to do exactly that,” he said at the Colombo airport. Let’s hope
those lines get reported as often as the comment that lead to them.

But then, during a statement read out at Melbourne airport last night, Jones
mentioned repeatedly that he was seriously out of pocket as a result of his
sacking. While apologising unreservedly for his comment, he placed great weight
on his own personal loss. If Deano (ludicrously) sees himself as a victim here,
at least it’s only money he’s been deprived of, not his right to practice his
religion without prejudice.

For more examples of Australian sportspeople’s insensitivity, here’s a more
comprehensive list
.

Peter Fray

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