Cricket South Africa have hit back at The Times for their reporting of former England captain Karen Smithies’ legal case against the governing body for homophobic discrimination.
The World Cup winner was turned down for the role of South Africa Women’s team manager. According to the paper, her sexuality was discussed by a four-strong panel, with one member reportedly suggesting she posed the risk of “getting into some darling-darling relationship with one of the players”.
The report stated that, unknown to the panel, a recording of the video meeting continued after Smithies had left, which was how she came to be aware of the comments allegedly made.
In a statement, CSA confirmed their intention to defend against Smithies’ claim, while also attacking The Times for how they had reported the news. While they ended their release by stating “it would be improper for Cricket South Africa to address the content of the article in any detail at this time”, they earlier quibbled with two sections of the report, suggesting that The Times had “mischievously attempted to sensationalise the role of former Proteas’ captain Graeme Smith in the dispute”.
Smith is now CSA director of cricket, and was present for the interview with Smithies, though it was reported by SACricketMag.com that he had left the call when Smithies did, and so was not present for any preceding discussions, something backed up by the CSA statement.
“The article further misleadingly and incorrectly infers that Mr Smith was party to discussions subsequent to Ms Smithies’ interview process, whereas Mr Smith had left the meeting directly after the interview was concluded,” it said.
The Times report did not specify that Smith had been present for the alleged remarks, but has since been updated to clarify that, according to Smith’s lawyers, he wasn’t.
The CSA release also criticised the article for “incorrectly reporting that Mr Smith has been served with legal papers”. The Times have since updated their piece to say that CSA was served legal papers last week, not Smith.
Subscribe to the Wisden Cricket YouTube channel for post-match awards, player interviews, analysis and much more.