PRETORIA – There was widespread anger today after the usually dignified Channel Nine tried to sell one hundred limited edition “Pistorius Bats” on air.
Billed as “collectors’ items” by Michael Slater, the Cricket Australia-sanctioned mini-replicas each feature “realistic bathroom door-style dents” and splatterings of KFC ketchup that “will make the perfect gift for all the family.” The mini-bats come as part of a gift set which also includes shards of broken beer glass from Ricky Ponting’s final Test and a hypodermic syringe full of imitation testosterone.
Generally known for its restraint and good taste when it comes to selling memorabilia, the latest line from the cricket broadcaster has led to huge numbers of complaints from viewers, many of who believe attempting to make money out of such a tragic situation is tasteless in the extreme.
“I am perfectly happy to be sold scratch-and-sniff remakes of Mitchell Johnson’s Ashes 2010 jockstrap, but this is beyond the pale,” wrote one enraged fan. “I’m always buying from Channel Nine’s great range of on-air memorabilia – I still cherish my replica OJ Simpson glove – but I must admit even I was shocked at this one,” said another.
Despite widespread condemnation, Channel Nine has vowed to carry on with the sale of the $150 bats. Commentating along to the Pistorius bail hearing as Richie Benaud facepalmed himself into unconsciousness, Mark Nicholas added to Judge Nair’s summary:
“Pistorius once again showed typical precision, albeit [allegedly] accompanied by a rather weighty bludgeon from a blade – a shot that, from the thousands of miniscule blood spatters, forensic pathologists are saying were reminiscent to Brian Lara in his heyday; a true sight to behold.”
“Our courtside partners are currently offering 10/1 that Pistorius set upon his girlfriend with a Gray-Nicholls bat. They also offer 3/1 that Pistorius is proven innocent for shooting his girlfriend three times thanks to South Africa’s infamous police incompetence and on-scene forensic contamination.”