Australian radio broadcaster Alan Jones has cited Cricket Australia (CA)'s decision to make dumped opening batsman Simon Katich appear at a disciplinary hearing for speaking his mind as proof the nation's sports organizations use the fear of retribution to gag their athletes.
Katich faces a disciplinary hearing for suggesting that captain Michael Clarke was behind his axing from the squad and the contracted players list.
"These people want robots. Cricket Australia don't employ Simon Katich. What's he guilty of? He's guilty of having an opinion ... There's not one sporting person in Australia who would agree with what's being done to Katich," Jones told the Sun Herald.
"[Cricket Australia] could not justify dismissal on merit. Now, is he a bad example? Has he behaved badly? He's a role model to all cricketers. His standards, his manner, his values and courtesy have shone and they're the reasons why he was touted as a future Australian cricket captain and why he was brought from Perth to captain NSW."
"And now he's being presented as some sort of pariah. It won't wash ... Cricket Australia are playing with fire," he added.
According to reports, Katich has been reported under the CA Code of Behaviour provisions relating to Detrimental Public Comment.
If he is found guilty, he could be banned from state games for New South Wales and fined up to 5,750 pounds.
Earlier, Katich had suggested that an infamous dressing room incident between Clarke and himself at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in 2009, where he grabbed the then vice-captain by the throat, had impacted on his contract eventually being torn up. (ANI) (ANI)