Hardik Pandya’s comments on the talk show Koffee With Karan, hosted by Karan Johar, have drawn the ire from social media users, terming it ‘misogynistic’ and ‘racist’. Virat Kohli, the Indian cricket team skipper, criticised the comments and said the Indian cricket team do not stand by those comments. The BCCI has taken action, suspending both Pandya and KL Rahul and ordering them back home to face an immediate probe. With Pandya and Rahul all set to miss the series in Australia and potentially New Zealand, trouble has mounted for Pandya as the fall-out from his comments continues. Along with an uncertain playing future, Pandya’s brand value might also take a massive hit due to the controversy.
According to a Times of India report, Pandya has been dropped as one of the celebrity ambassadors for men’s shaving razor Gillette Mach3 Start following his ‘outrageous’ comments. “Hardik Pandya’s recent comments do not reflect the values of Gillette. We have suspended our association with Hardik until a further course of action is decided,” a company spokesperson said. It is reported that other brands might soon follow suit. Currently, Pandya has an association with brands like Oppo, Gulf Oil, Sin Denim, DFY Sport and EUME. Rahul, the other cricketer in the controversy, endorses Curefit, Royal Stag, Puma and is one of the faces in the Reserve Bank of India TVC.
Following the outrage, Hotstar have removed the episode from the web while Pandya's father Himanshu has said that the comments should not be taken seriously as his son was indulging in chatter in a light-hearted manner.
The BCCI suspended both Pandya and Rahul and have asked the duo to return home from the series against Australia. This has thrown their participation even in the tour of New Zealand in doubt where India will play five ODIs and three T20Is. The move comes after Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji said that the duo should be suspended until further course of action is taken. The former India women’s cricket player had initially suggested a two-match suspension for the duo but referred the matter to the legal cell after CoA chief Vinod Rai agreed with her and recommended the same.
The move was taken by BCCI legal team refused to declare their comments on women a violation of the code of conduct. "We feel that present matter doesn't fall under the ambit of Code of Conduct and procedure of Code of Conduct can't be invoked in present circumstances,” the firm stated. The firm said the behaviour in question was neither a criticism of any match or against a player or support staff or match official. A senior BCCI official said this was not a code of conduct but it was about bringing an organisation to disrepute. The official cited the example of Steve Smith, who was only banned for one Test in the ICC Code of Conduct situation but was banned for one year by Cricket Australia.
Pandya's remarks were slammed as ‘misogynistic’, ‘racist’ by many Twitter users and the Board of Control for Cricket in India also jumped him, issuing a showcause notice to the all-rounder along with KL Rahul, the other cricketer present on the show. Pandya had taken to Twitter to apologise for his remarks and apparently, he has also expressed ‘regret’ over the comments when he responded to the showcause notice. The all-rounder has said the mistake will not be repeated in the future.
In a report on PTI, Pandya said. “I made an appearance on the chat show where I have made certain statements without realising that these could be disrespectful and offend sensitivities of viewers for which I am sincerely regretful. I would like to assure you that there was no malice or any sort of ill-intent on my part to offend anyone or portray any section of the society in bad light. I made these statements in the flow of the show and had not comprehended the extent to which my statements would be found offensive.”
The situation came into light with this one conversation when Johar was asking questions about not asking women’s name in a night club and what do men talk about. To this, Pandya replied, “I like to watch and observe how they (women) move. I'm little from the black side so I need to see how they move." Pandya also boasted about how he casually discussed his sex life with his parents. “When I lost my virginity, I came home and said, 'Main karke aya hai aaj (I had sex today)'. At a party my parents asked me 'acha tera wala (women) kaun sa hai [who is your interest here?] so I said yeh, yeh, yeh (pointing out women)' and they were like 'waah proud of you beta',” Pandya replied with laughter.