Shane Warne has broken his silence after disparaging remarks about Marnus Labuschagne were broadcast when he thought he was off air.
Warne and fellow Aussie cricket great Andrew Symonds were widely condemned last week when controversial remarks about Labuschagne were picked up by their microphones.
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Preparing to commentate a Big Bash game for Fox Sports, Warne and Symonds thought they weren’t on-air yet when they started discussing some of Labuschagne’s unorthodox batting antics.
“Do something now to his ADD (attention deficit disorder), f***ing pills,” Symonds said.
Warne replied that Labuschagne should “bat properly”, saying: “Yeah, f***. Jeez it's annoying. 'No!!!' Just f***ing bat properly.”
Symonds added: “We'll have to give him the hog pile”, before saying: “Mate, if you keep that sh*t up we're going to have to squash your guts out your arse.”
While Fox Sports’ coverage wasn’t live yet, Warne and Symonds’ comments were broadcast to subscribers of streaming service Kayo Sports.
Amid mounting backlash about the comments, Warne has since cleared the air and apologised to Labuschagne.
“I like it when he just bats – and that’s why I said to Andrew Symonds that he should just bat properly,” Warne wrote for News Corp.
“I’ve communicated with Marnus about what unfortunately went to air last week and I’d like to apologise for swearing on TV.
“Marnus had no issue. He thought it was funny and had a laugh about it and so did his teammates. Andrew has also apologised to Marnus for what he said, too.”
Sam Connor, president of People with Disability Australia, took to social media to condemn Warne and Symonds.
“I don’t know if Marnus has ADD or ADHD, nor if he takes meds. His medical history is his business,” she posted on Twitter.
“What I do know is that kids with ADHD are 10x as likely to be bullied.
“I don’t know if you considered this to be amusing - but I hope you consider all the kids who look up to you.”
Others described the offensive comments as “revolting” and “disgusting”.
shane warne and andrew symonds mocking marnus on live tv is disgusting. as professionals, even though those comments shouldn't have been said in the first place, they should know to conduct themselves better if there was a slight chance of them being on camera. its gross
— rebecca (@rebeccaaruthven) January 8, 2021
Absolutely revolting behaviour from Shane Warne and Andrew Symonds. Ableist comments like these are never okay.
As someone who suffers from ADD I’d also like to say a massive f@ck you. You’re not funny. https://t.co/0NYjciXUOd
— Ash (@ashlyn_hb) January 8, 2021
I am very disappointed to hear that Shane Warne and Andrew Symonds ripped into a young plater like Marnus tonight. While it was off air it is not good. 708 test wickets but we can’t have these things happen.
— Dan Paine Stapleton (@Dan_Stapo) January 8, 2021
I don’t understand why Kayo apologized for broadcasting what Symonds and Warne said...maybe those two should be doing the apologies
— Ryan Williamson (@Eagleeyedkiwi) January 8, 2021
Marnus and teammates make fun of Warne furore
In the field on day four of the third Test against India, Tim Paine and Matthew Wade could be heard talking to Labuschagne about the controversy.
“When you're 100 Tests in and I'm commentating, it's going to be exactly the same,” Paine told Labuschagne, who was fielding at short leg.
“I'm going to be sitting with Roy (Symonds) and Warnie, saying the same thing. Hogpiling.”
Labuschagne replied: “Mate if you keep that sh*t up we're going to have to squash your guts out your arse.”
Wade, who was also fielding close to the bat, then said: “I'll be coaching in 10 years, you'll be playing and I'll be saying 'if you'd have just taken Warnie and Roy's advice, back at the start, we wouldn't be in this situation.”
Labuschange responded: “Stump mic must be on.”
Once again in commentary duties for Fox Sports, Warne listened in silence as fellow commentator Mark Howard could be heard telling producers “turn it down”.
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