Former NBA player John Amaechi has laid down a sobering truth to the response Joe Root received for his retort to a sledge.

A stump microphone picked up the back end of Root and West Indian bowler Shannon Gabriel's exchange, in which Root appeared to say: "There's nothing wrong with being gay."

Root received worldwide praise for his comment, however Amaechi, who in 2007 became the first former NBA player to come out publically, took a different view of the situation.

Penning a column for The Independent, the former Orlando Magic forward said for Root to gain plaudits for such a token statement showed just how broken sport really is.


"Sports fans and the media shower Root's retort with champagne, as if a sportsperson saying something most parents would see simply as a sign of ordinary civility in their children, somehow shatters a pink ceiling in a sport without a single out player in the elite men's game," Amaechi writes.

"'There's nothing wrong with being gay' is the kind of measured response to homophobia I would expect from any professional in their workplace. It is the very least I should expect from a man who is captain of a team that represents a nation.

"I know people will find this ungrateful, and I do appreciate what Root did, however the sports business is one area where they've perfected over-promising and under-delivering and no one seems to have noticed.

"Many in the media fawn at the vaguest hint of a sport living up to their own press; fans often seem too easily placated by tiny gestures as if they've already binged on the sporting kool-aid.

"The terminally low bar set for sport allows it to appear charmingly hapless when it (so often) fails to live up to its loudly promised principles."

Speaking after the incident, Root addressed his war of words with fast bowler Gabriel. The pair were engaged in a running battle as Root powered towards another test ton before the tension seemed to escalate at one point during the 28-year-old's partnership with Joe Denly.

Root refrained from pointing the finger at Gabriel after stumps but acknowledged the quick may regret his choice of words.

"Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field," Root said.

"It's test cricket and he's an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a test match. He's a good guy who plays hard cricket and is proud to be in the position he is.

"The battle was a good contest, he's had a wonderful series and he should be proud.

"I don't want anything said in the middle to ruin what's been a good test series for him and his team."