England all-rounder Ben Stokes has apologised for swearing at a spectator during day one of this week’s fourth and final Test against the Proteas at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
The spectator reportedly likened Stokes to English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. Stokes, who was leaving the field after being dismissed by fast bowler Anrich Nortje, responded with, ‘Come say that to me outside the ground, you f***ing four-eyed c***’. Stokes’ remark was broadcast, but the fan’s was not.
‘I wish to apologise for my language that was heard on the live broadcast after my dismissal. I should not have reacted in that way. As I was leaving the playing area, I was subjected to repeated abuse from the crowd,’ said Stokes.
‘I admit that my reaction was unprofessional, and I sincerely apologise for the language I used, especially to the many young fans watching the live telecast around the world.
‘Throughout the Tests so far, the support from both sets of fans – England and South Africa – has been brilliant. One incident will not ruin such a competitive series, which we are determined to win.’
Stokes will likely be sanctioned by the International Cricket Council despite the prompt apology. England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler was fined for calling Proteas all-rounder Vernon Philander a ‘f***ing knobhead’ earlier this series.
‘It is disappointing that a member of the public has gone out of their way to abuse Ben as he was leaving the field. Ben is fully aware that he should not have reacted in the way that he did and apologises for his actions,’ added England’s men cricket managing director Ashley Giles.
‘In addition to this incident, members of our support staff were subjected to personal abuse during and after the day’s play. We have requested to the venue to ensure that security and stewarding are enhanced for the remainder of the match so that players and staff members can go about their duties without provocation.’
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