Not A Racial Slur, It’s Just Your Mother Is A [Expletive Deleted]

13 01 2008

miscreant bowler, Harbhajan SinghSo… the latest on the Harbhajan Singh defense against the … *ahem*… ‘alleged’ racial slur (‘alleged’ my [expletive deleted], he was found guilty of it by an impartial adjudicator) is that he didn’t utter any racist comments, but just said something (in Hindi) highly offensive about Andrew Symonds’ mother.
Apparently he said,

“Abey teri maan ki”

… which translates to an extremely offensively derogative comment about Symonds’ mother.

Ummm… ok.

Firstly, I’m not sure why this can even be trotted out as a defense. It’s a legitimate defense to be offensive about someone’s mother? Laughable. Secondly, why wasn’t this brought up when the firebrand Indian bowler was first brought before adjudication on the issue? Talk about grasping at straws…

So, we have:

  1. Mumbai, October ’07. Massive problems due to racial abuse from the crowds, and from Harbhajan Singh – calling Andrew Symonds a ‘monkey’. Post match, Symonds & Harbhajan meet, and agree not to abuse each other, or use racist comments.
  2. Harbhajan being accused of racist comments – calling Andrew Symonds a ‘monkey’ … something that he stated he would not do, and found to be guilty by an impartial judge, Mike Procter of South Africa (who had a QC – a highly reputable lawyer – by his side to make sure that all legal procedure was followed). Given a 3 match suspension.
  3. India appeal the ban, stating that he didn’t say anything.
  4. Harbhajan denies ever meeting with Symonds in Mumbai.
  5. India states that Symonds broke an agreement made post-match at Mumbai on not sledging each other, despite Harbhajan denying that the meeting ever took place.
  6. Now the introduction of the ‘I-was-only-slagging-off-your-mother’ defense…

I find this latest development oh-so… pathetic.
And it seriously calls into contention the testimony of Sachin Tendulkar, who contended that Harbhajan never said anything to Symonds.
So, soon a judge hailing from New Zealand – John Hansen – will assess the appeal. Whatever the outcome, there’ll be either disappointment, or outrage.
If the appeal is upheld, and Harbhajan is found ‘not guilty’, then the ICC will be seen to be pandering to the Indian team, yet again.
If he’s found guilty, and the original verdict of Procter is seen to be just, then the Indian team will claim that they are being mistreated in Australia.

If that happens, somehow, this will all be Cricket Australia’s fault. Yes, there are somethings that the Australian cricket team can take away from all of this – some exploration of a way to increase the level of ‘class’ in the way the game’s played.

And it’s a real pity – because lost in all of this is that there’s been some great cricket played by both nations. And it belittles Indian cricket. They are better than this childish footstamping would indicate.

Still, India really needs to do some soul-searching of their own, as to the way they played the match (if the game had been drawn, then Ishant Sharma might have found himself embroiled in a time-wasting controversy… and of course, not ignoring Harbhajan)… but especially in the way they’ve conducted themselves post the 2nd test.
Because it’s that, and not the supposed faults of the Australian cricket team, that should be coming into question.

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22 responses

13 01 2008
Neeraj Kumar

…belittles Indian cricket.

It doesn’t. No right minded person would subscribe to what Harbhajan said on the field, which ever of the two it was. But, your questioning to whether it is right to say something offensive on the cricket should have taken you right in to the Australian camp who thrive on calling each other ‘Bastards’ however light hearted it might be in Australia. Degree of crime should not be litmus of all this. Lets look at the intent and the big picture. Any attempt to sensationalize this by media of either countries should be treated with highest contempt.

Any form of disrespect, racial or otherwise, should not go unpunished and should be banned completely going forward.

13 01 2008
withmalice

“Any form of disrespect, racial or otherwise, should not go unpunished and should be banned completely going forward”

Fair call on that… but pretty much every sport has at the very least players talking ‘smack’. And the rules regarding ‘sledging’ cover possible cultural differences. The use of ‘bastard’ (which, yes, is regarded pretty lightly in Australia) is being looked into.
To be honest, I think there’s a little bit of duplicity going on as to how offended the Indian cricketers were tho’, as it was a few days after the test when Hogg was reported.

My point on questioning what Harbhajan said, is not so much the degree of ‘offensive’, but as to the ever-changing nature of his story, his defense. In my experience, if 1 guy’s sticking to his story, and the other guy keeps changing it… the guy who is holding to what he originally said is probably the one telling the truth. Simply an opinion (but one that will very soon be explored by Judge Hansen).

Nice to get an Indian’s perspective tho’ Neeraj…

14 01 2008
bigredman

“INDIA has hinted at withdrawing a complaint against Australian Brad Hogg, if the host team drops a race charge against its spinner, Harbhajan Singh.

Spinner Hogg was charged with making an offensive remark to India captain Anil Kumble and vice-captain MS Dhoni in last week’s controversial second Test in Sydney.

Harbhajan received a three-Test ban after match referee Mike Procter, of South Africa, found the bowler had racially abused Andrew Symonds in the same Test.

“A senior member of the tour party, however, hinted at a compromise, wherein India would withdraw their complaint against Hogg, if Australia did not push the Harbhajan case,” the Hindustan Times reported yesterday.

“Talks are on, I can’t say more at this moment. You are free to interpret it the way you like,” the newspaper quoted the senior member as saying in Canberra. ”

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23047723-5001505,00.html

14 01 2008
Neelakantha

Highly biased articles in favor of the Aussies. The writer passed his jugement on the basis of media reports that Harbhajan would use “Teri Maan Ki” to defend himself. Let’s wait and see what happens next. Stop speculating.

The writer gave a clean chit to the Australians and asked Indians to do a soul-searching. On the contrary, Australians are doing it. They are doing a soul-searching now. Ponting has admitted that he and his team may have made some mistakes. In addition, Symonds said he would laugh and take it lightly if anyone who knows him, passes a racial slur, but not from rival. What a ridiculous statement! He still justifies the racial slur in cricket, saying friends and known persona can make it. Does he have any moral rights to say he felt offended by Harbhajan’s remarks? It’s for the readers and cricket fans to decide.

14 01 2008
withmalice

lol…
‘Highly-biased’? How so? Because I don’t (like nearly every other cricket blog – hailing from… guess where?) pander to the Indians?

They’ve behaved deplorably, and the furor is just a sleight-of-hand to shift emphasis off them. And yes, that he’ll use cursing out Symonds’ mother is at this point speculation – but print-media from both your country & Australia are saying that it’s what will be said, based on what they’ve been told from the Indian cricket team. What else are people expected to base speculation on, other than what’s coming out from the team itself?

And on Symonds… you’re telling half-truths Neel’… tsk tsk. Symonds stated that he’d only take it as offensive if coming from someone he didn’t know, not just ‘a rival’. A rival he knew making it would incur no wrath. Silly? Are you human? It’s just the same as the rest of us – stuff said by mates is usually in jest, and goes by easily. If someone you don’t know gives you abuse, people get upset.
To state that he should do otherwise, now that’s a ridiculous statement!

Does he have moral rights? Of course he does! What a foolish thing to assert – that he doesn’t!

And no, it’s not

“for the readers and cricket fans to decide”

It’s for Judge John Hansen.

But welcome, and hope that you comment again! 😉

14 01 2008
Neelakantha

Here we defending our teams. You are biased in defending Australians and deploring Indians. And, I will reciprocate by defending my own countrymen and slamming the Australians. So, it will go on. And, I think we both are right in holding to our belief.

The entire issue has become global, not personal. Racial slurs, be it from a friend or foe, is highly condemnable and punishable. If Harbhajan did that intentially, he must be punished. If Symonds says that he would take racial slurs from friends lightly, he also should be punished. The ICC has taken a vow not to tolerate racism in cricket irrespective whether it comes from a friend or foe.

A judge will deliver the verdict on his limited power. He is just an individual. But it’s the people power that rule eventually. If cricket is popular today, it’s only because of cricket fans, not because of aby Hansen or Procter. So, people will always remember what’s right and what’s wrong. They are the real judges.

14 01 2008
Neelakantha

And, two more things:

1) The reports are based on speculations. Australian and Indian newspapers and websites quote the news published in “Daily Telegraph”, which says it has got this info from confidential sources from Indian team. Is it so? I see, every journalist says so.

2) Hogg would defend himself quoting Edmund Hillary’s words after he conquerred Everest, report says. I just heard that Harbhajan would quote Charles Darwin to prove that we all are monkyes (Darwin said human origin is from monkeys, not alone Andrew Symonds. Let monkeys rule the world. Long live Monkeys!

14 01 2008
withmalice

I have absolutely no need to defend the Australian team. They’ve behaved better than most hosts I’ve seen. Deny that all you like, but you have a very short memory, huh? What about the chain of events that culminated in Mumbai? Conveniently forgotten? Or will you attempt to state that the entire crowds were actually a group of scientists making some comment re. the origins of man?

And Hillary?…
Except that the ICC made no comment about the words Edmund Hillary used… but they DID make it clear in no uncertain terms prior to the commencement of the Indian tour of Australia that they regarded the term ‘monkey’ as a racist slur, and that it was NOT to be used. Harbhajan chose to ignore that.
Even so, if found guilty of using the words in anger, Hogg will pay the penalty – as well he should.

And you (and other apologists of your ilk) are ignoring – point blank – intent. Harbhajan (and I guess the crowds in last year’s tour of India) did not use the term to ‘discuss Darwinism’, it was intended to be derisive.
The sooner people like yourself come to terms with this, the sooner we all move on.

And you make some absolutely gross assumptions… some that would indicate that you’ve had very little experience dealing with ‘people’. We should treat comments from people we know & people we don’t know the same? Really? Yet again, you ignore intent. If I call my son a ‘silly monkey’ (inferring that he’s cute & playful… but perhaps a lil’ naughty) that’s one thing. But if I went into an african american neighborhood and used it, I’d better get outta there quickly.

And ‘people’ the judges? Let me guess: more apologist BS on the tantrum threatened by the BCCI? Or is that just an excuse for the burning of effigies?

14 01 2008
Neelakantha

And, crazy and inhuman people like you vitiate the atmospher by such biased articles. Why don’t you keep quiet and let your gods Hansen and Procter decide what they intend. Afterall, their verdict will be final. Don’t spread venom with such biased and weak articles that are intended to make profits. You have better things to do. Stop India bashing or you will get the same comments what Symonds got (according to Australia media). This is a pathetic blog. I won’t visit this again. Somebody pointed me to this one. But I never knew that I would ugly things here. Shame! Shame! Good bye Australians.

14 01 2008
withmalice

Yawn.
Crazy inhumane? You mean like burning effigies on the streets et al…

You’re getting trite & boring now. Yet another Indian fan who doesn’t like what he reads so goes on the aggressive… thank gods you’re not a true indication of your nation.

Now empty threats? I don’t post what you want to read – apologist BS – and you whine like a stuck pig.
Feel free not to return sir, your choice.
Bubbye!

14 01 2008
Sam

Hey, come on guys! Don’t fight like this. It’s all about money, muscle flexing and power struggle. They are all dramatic and get money. We poor guys fight with each other. Hey Don, I enjoy your NBA stories. Just get back to that. Cricket should be left to Indians. For them, it’s a sort of religion. BTW, I could not stop laughing with this “Monkey” and “Darwin Theory”. That guy had a point, really!

14 01 2008
Sam

BTW, I am an Indian too. But don’t argue on cricket, mainly after the match-fixing controversy.

14 01 2008
anandkrishna

As I see it, it’s a case of “if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen”! Few teams have given back to Australia as good as they get and being given a dose of their own medicine is a new and annoying experience for the Aussies. That said, I don’t think anyone in their right senses will condone what Harbhajan allegedly said. Even in jest, even to mates, a comment about someone’s mother is in poor taste. The same applies to calling anyone a “bastard”. Period.

However, Symonds’ assertion that he was riled by Bhajji supposedly making contact with Brett Lee’s bottom and that is what triggered the exchange strikes me as possibly an extreme reaction. Why did Brett Lee himself not react directly to the alleged act? What (and here I speculate), if it was an accidental brush-as opposed to a deliberate touch or smack- and reognizing it as such, both primary parties chose to ignore it? What (and again, I am only guessing) if Symonds was trying to bait Harbhajan, knowing that the odds were high that Bhajji would take the bait and events would unfold in exactly the manner that they have- so that Ponting could be rid of a bowler who has consistently had his measure? None of this can be proved, of course….. but strange things have been known to happen in competitive sports.

Keep the entire racial and other slurs to the side. What about the abjectly poor umpiring decisions? India could still have saved the Sydney test if their tail-enders had hung on for another over or two- but I would love to know how Australia would react if, on their next tour overseas, an overwhelming majority of decisions went blatantly against them and they lost the match. And do not forget that Symonds, Ponting and Clarke have, in their own ways, admitted to being the beneficiaries of poor decisions.

Methinks the brouhaha is, in large measure, the inability of people to separate the two underlying issues- patently poor sportsmanship (and umpiring) and alleged racial/other abuse. Maybe the genesis of all this acrimony and ill-will is really the T20 tournament. India having denied Australia that trophy must surely rankle. Australia are a good enough team to beat India without undue favours from the umpires, but perhaps the eagerness to bag the record of 16 consecutive wins was too much….

No matter what the outcome of the hearings against Harbhajan and Hogg, and no matter whether Steve Bucknor will again officiate in a match, one thing is certain- this series, like the last one between the two teams, will be remembered for stuff that’s definitely not cricket.

Perhaps Cricket Australia and BCCI should call off Australia’s tour of India, which is scheduled for October 2008 (I think). Give the two teams a two year break from playing each other in bilateral series and see if time heals these wounds.

14 01 2008
withmalice

Fair call Sam, and please note: posted 2 NBA bits today… 🙂
Worth noting too that at no stage have I been upset by Neel’s diatribes! 😉
Tho’ if I’ve dealt a lil’ harshly with him in my responses, it’s probably due to the fact that after visiting several cricket-blogs of a certain sub-continental persuasion, and having the vast majority not print anything that disagrees with them… here, unless someone goes waaay overboard with the abuse, I’ll happily disagree & argue with ’em… or entertain those that wish to do so with each other. 🙂
Rest assured, I hold no ill-will towards Neelakantha, nor anyone else here.

Hi anandkrishna, I think ‘getting-what-you-give’ is not a fair indication of the situation – the ICC stated before the series that this was a ‘no-go’ zone. Nor do I believe that it was a case of Symonds mistaking what Harbhajan said. If it’s simply a case of Bhaji seeing red, then he really needs to take stock of what he does on the field of play.

You’ll also note that at no stage have I declared the umpiring to be fair and judicious, and within every piece I’ve written I’ve stated that the Indian team did get the short end of the stick. As to how Australia would react to having decisions go blatantly against them and losing matches, I refer you (anandkrishna) to the 2005 Ashes series in England. No where in Australia was a single effigy burnt 😉 (lots of abusive commentary on chatboards across the nation tho’!)…
Sorry to disagree with you on the T20 stuff, but honestly? I don’t think it’s really thought of as ‘cricket’ yet in Australia. It’s still got the stigma of being merely ‘slap ‘n’ tickle’. I would suggest that the rancor comes from the last tour of India, culminating in Mumbai.

Glad to have you folk all here discussing it all tho’…

14 01 2008
Matt

Hey mate, Kumble has bowled Ponting out. I can bet tomorrow’s newspapers will shower praises on Indians for being magnanimous and forgive Hogg. Good move by the Indians! Now Ponting has to offer something and counter them! Whatever, I appreciate Kumble. He has a big heart.

15 01 2008
Bigredman

Ponting will offer them a fast bouncy wicket in Perth. That good enough?

15 01 2008
withmalice

And perhaps an early finish to the test so that all can enjoy the WA beaches…
😉

But good point Matt – yup, it was indeed a nice gesture by Kumble.

15 01 2008
Matt

Poor Ponting! He will continue to win on-field, but off the field, the Indians rule the roost. It’s surprising that once dubbed as “dumb” Indians are hitting back so hard that even the most aggressive Ponting & Co. are dumbfounded. This is the spirit of cricket. The Indians must be admired for proving a point.

15 01 2008
withmalice

Ummm… huh?
Do you live in an alternate reality Matt? 😛

15 01 2008
Matt

Yep, just like you.

15 01 2008
withmalice

Oh… that was witty!

Not sure how you’d derive that… but as far as what you’ve shared with us thus far, perhaps you’d like to illuminate further?
How do you come to the conclusion that “the Indians rule the roost”?
Or that “Ponting & Co. are dumbfounded”?
And exactly what ‘point’ did the Indians prove?

8 10 2008
muscle babes

muscle babes…

I’ve always heard a lot of good things said about Muscle Milk (taste…

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