Brad Hogg has been charged with "making an offensive remark" to Anil Kumble and MS Dhoni during India's second innings of the Sydney Test on Sunday. The ICC announced the charge, laid by Indian manager Chetan Chauhan, on Tuesday. Match referee Mike Procter will hear the charge next Monday. Hogg has been charged with a Level 3 offence under paragraph 3.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct - the same category of offence for which Harbhajan Singh has been found guilty, and is currently appealing.
Paragtaph 3.3 reads as follows:
"3.3 Using language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, gender, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin."
Rediff is reporting today that Hogg is unlikely to contest the charge.
From what we've heard about the Hogg incident, he is said to have used the word "bastard" towards Kumble and Dhoni. On the surface of it, that doesn't appear to be a racist or otherwise discriminatory expression unless it was prefaced with a matching adjective. But it's quite likely that "bastard" was uttered in an abusive context.
It could be that a Level 2 offence in accordance with Paragraph 2.8 is the more appropriate one here:
"Using language that is obscene, offensive or of a seriously insulting nature to another Player, umpire, Referee, Team Official or spectator. (It is acknowledged that there will be verbal exchanges between Players in the course of play. Rather than seeking to eliminate these exchanges entirely, umpires will look to lay charges when this falls below an acceptable standard. In this instance, language will be interpreted to include gestures)."
There seems to be little doubt that the Indian camp have laid this charge against Hogg as a tit-for-tat following the suspension of Harbhajan. Nonetheless, they are perfectly justified in laying the charge, and frankly I think abusive language on the field should be cracked down upon far more frequently.
And, far more consistently.
I am in total agreement with those people calling for sledging to be eliminated from the international game completely. It's just not relevant to winning or losing the game, and it's pointless having all these grey areas where we can argue about what is abuse, what is racism, what is cultural insensitivity, etc, etc. Just don't do it.
Cultural awareness is a major issue, and more about that in a future missive. Whew this is a complex mess this week!
Finally, though not relevant to the Hogg case, let me make a few comments about the word, "bastard", which unquestionably has a legitimate use in some contexts.
- Dictionary.com provides several sources for definitions and etymology of the word "bastard".
- That memorable line "Which of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?" from the 1984 TV series "Bodyline" is completely fictional.
- Edward William Bastard played 37 first-class games for Oxford University and Somerset between 1882 and 1885, while John Horatio Bastard played for Cambridge University and the MCC between 1838 and 1840.
There have been no Monkeys who have played first-class cricket, though Cricketarchive records nine cricketers with the surname Gibbon. Of course, calling someone a Hogg to their face could get you in trouble in certain situations...