Australian cricket captain Tim Paine will quit over sexting scandal

Tim Paine has stepped down as Australia’s Test cricket captain amid a shock sexting scandal where he sent a lewd photo and explicit messages to a female staffer.

The married father-of-two young children was investigated by Cricket Australia in 2018 after the woman complained, but cleared of misconduct and the matter kept secret.

Paine, 36, sent a photo of his penis to a female co-worker along with a stream of lewd text messages, many of which are too raunchy to publish.

‘Will you want to taste my d**?? F**k me, I’m seriously hard,’ one of the messages sent to the Cricket Tasmania employee read.

Paine, who has led the team since the Sandpapergate scandal in 2018, held a press conference at 2.30pm on Friday where he tearfully apologised and announced he would step down.

‘It’s an incredibly difficult decision, but the right one for me, my family, and cricket,’ he said. 

Australia’s Test cricket captain Tim Paine, a father-of-two who has been married to his wife Bonnie (pictured together) for five years, will step down from the team amid a shock sexting scandal

Tim Paine’s lewd text exchange

[Evening of November 22, 2017]

PAINE: I like good girl… but this other one sounds interesting.

WOMAN: When I’m good I’m good. When I am bad I am brilliant.

PAINE: Brilliantly bad??

[Morning of November 23, hours before Paine took to the field] 

WOMAN: I will think naughty thoughts about you whilst we watch the TV.

PAINE: I’m cracking! Ha ha. Naughty thoughts like what? I’m about to give something firm a pull…

WOMAN: Ha, sorry I’m getting ready for work … it’s a big day for us kids.

PAINE: Will you want to taste my ***?? F*** me, I’m seriously hard.

WOMAN: I thought we were resting hands.

PAINE: Can’t rest them when I’m this hard!! Need to ease the tension … Finish me off with those lips then 😉

[Paine then sends a photo of his penis] 

PAINE: Finish me off right now!!!

The lewd messages were sent on November 22 and 23, 2017, the eve and morning of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Cricket Australia was not aware of the messages until after Paine was appointed Test captain in March 2018 in the wake of the ball tampering scandal.

Paine was brought in as the saviour of Australian cricket after captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were suspended, along with opener Cameron Bancroft.

The trio was caught on camera using concealed sandpaper to rough up the ball during the tour of South Africa.

Cricket Australia is believed to have found out in June 2018 and launched an investigation, along with Cricket Tasmania.

The woman complained in 2018 that ‘Mr Paine’s sexually explicit, unwelcome and unsolicited photograph of his genitals in addition to the graphic sexual comments’.

She said to have been taken aback by the comments and pornographic photo, which she found offensive.

However, he complaints were only made about seven months later when the woman was when she was charged with stealing. Those charges are still before the courts.

Cricket Tasmania chairman Andrew Gaggin said she was earlier sacked by the organisation, but did not bring the messages up at the time.

Mr Gaggin said as soon as the organisation received the complaint it investigated but ‘determined the interaction was consensual, provate, occured on the one occasion only, was between mature adults and was not repeated’.

‘Cricket Tasmania clearly does not condone this type of behaviour and addressed the matter directly with Time Paine,’ he said.

‘However, because of the consensual nature of the actions it was determined that no further action was required or appropriate.’

Paine said at his press conference that he was exonerated by these investigations, which found he did not breach the code of conduct.

His wife Bonnie, whom he has been married to for five years, was also aware of the messages but chose to stick by him.

‘Although exonerated, I deeply regretted this incident at the time, and still do today,’ he said on Friday.

‘I spoke to my wife and family at the time and am enormously grateful for their forgiveness and support. 

‘We thought this incident was behind us and that I could focus entirely on the team, as I have done for the last three or four years. 

‘However, I recently became aware that this private text exchange was going to become public.

‘On reflection, my actions in 2017 do not meet the standard of an Australian cricket captain, or the wider community. 

‘I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and pain that I have caused to my wife, my family, and to the other party. I’m sorry for any damage that this does to the reputation of our sport.’

Paine was brought it as the saviour of Australian cricket after captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were suspended, along with opener Cameron Bancroft

Paine was brought it as the saviour of Australian cricket after captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were suspended, along with opener Cameron Bancroft

Paine announced his resignation in a statement on Friday afternoon and held a press conference and 2.30pm on Friday where he tearfully apologised

Paine announced his resignation in a statement on Friday afternoon and held a press conference and 2.30pm on Friday where he tearfully apologised

Paine, 36, sent a photo of his penis to a female co-worker along with a stream of lewd text messages, many of which are too raunchy to publish

Paine, 36, sent a photo of his penis to a female co-worker along with a stream of lewd text messages, many of which are too raunchy to publish

The woman interacted with Paine on and off for about a year, and the leaked messages were flirtatious by both parties.

But conversation took a sudden turn with the cricketer’s explicit messages just before she resigned from Cricket Tasmania.

She sent letter to Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania, as well as the Australian Human Rights Commission, complaining of sexual harassment.

Paine broke down in tears at his press conference where he apologised to all those he hurt and let down, including Australian cricket fans at large.

He said he decided to resign because the messages were about to become public, and he didn’t want to be a distraction during The Ashes, which begin on December 8 in Brisbane. 

‘I believe that it is the right decision for me to stand down as captain, effective immediately. I do not want this to become an unwelcome disruption to the team ahead of what is a huge Ashes series,’ he said.

‘I have loved my role…’ he said, his voice cracking as he wiped away a tear, ‘as captain of the Australian cricket team.

‘It’s been the greatest privilege of my sporting life to lead the Australian men’s test team. I’m grateful for the support of my teammates and proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together.

‘To them, I ask for their understanding and forgiveness. To Australian cricket fans – deeply sorry that my past behaviour has impacted our game on the eve of the Ashes.

‘For the disappointment I have caused to fans and the entire cricket community, I apologise. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful, loving and supportive family, and it breaks my heart to know how much I’ve let them down.

‘They have always stood by me, been my most loyal fans, and I’m indebted to them for their support.’

Cricket Australia chairman Richard Freudenstein minutes earlier issued a statement on Paine’s behalf, announcing the resignation as Test captain.

‘Tim felt it was in the best interests of his family and Australian cricket to take this decision to step down as captain,’ he said.

‘The Board has accepted Tim’s resignation and will now work through a process with the National Selection Panel of identifying and appointing a new captain.

‘While the Board acknowledges an investigation cleared Tim of any breach of the code of conduct regarding this matter some years ago, we respect his decision (to resign).

‘CA does not condone this type of language or behaviour.

‘Despite the mistake he made, Tim has been an exceptional leader since his appointment and the Board thanks him for his distinguished service.

‘Tim will continue to be available for selection in the Test team through the Ashes summer.’

TIM PAINE’S RISE AND FALL

2010: Tim Paine makes his Test debut against Pakistan, replacing injured Brad Haddin, but is dumped upon the incumbent’s return

April 2016: Paine marries Bonnie Maggs

November 17, 2017: Granted shock recall for Ashes series

November 22-23, 2017: Paine sends lewd messages to a female coworker on the eve and morning of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. The pair had exchanged texts throughout the year

January 2018: Selected for squad to tour South Africa

March 25, 2018: Appointed interim captain after Steve Smith and David Warner stood down over ‘sandpapergate’ ball tampering scandal

March 28, 2018: Paine is appointed captain for the 4th Test of the series, becoming the 46th captain of the Australian side

April 2018: Awarded a national contract by Cricket Australia 

June 2018: Cricket Australia and Cricket Tasmania become aware of the messages and launch an investigation, following a complaint from the woman. Paine claims he was exonerated during the investigation. His wife Bonnie was aware of the messages but chose to stick by him

2018 – 2021: Paine continues as Test captain, retaining the Ashes in England in 2019

November 19, 2021: Paine steps down as full details of the explicit messages surface

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