Cricket: Blackcap James Neesham's sage advice for social media stars

Blackcaps all-rounder Jimmy Neesham was among many who thought Aussie cricketing rival James Faulkner had revealed he was gay.

The Monday-night birthday post on Instagram left many believing Faulkner had publicly come out of the closet.

  • 'I am not gay' - Faulkner confirms social media post 'misinterpreted'

Faulkner posted a snapshot from a restaurant, alongside his mother and business partner Rob Jubb.

"Birthday dinner with the boyfriend @robjubbsta and my mother @roslyn_carol_faulkner #togetherfor5years," Faulkner said.

The post drew more than 800 comments, including Australian teammates David Warner and Glen Maxwell, the latter congratulating Faulkner for his "courage".

But on Tuesday, both Faulkner and Cricket Australia released statements, claiming there had been a misunderstanding. Faulkner edited his post, replacing "boyfriend" with "best friend".

Neesham, one of New Zealand sport's most prominent social media users saw no malice in Faulkner's post, but offered some advice to the T20 specialist.

"It's one of those things that can happen, isn't it?" Neesham told Newshub. "I think you have to be very clear about what you're saying on social media.

"I think people can definitely take things the wrong way or take things the way they think will get the most clicks.

"People take things the way they want to take them, I think, occasionally.

"Obviously, James has not been entirely clear on what he meant, but I think everyone will move forward and sort of forget about it.

"I saw the post in the morning and didn't really think much about ,to be fair. It isn't really a significant thing for me if he's gay or if he's not gay, it doesn't really bother me."

James Neesham will be a part of the Blackcaps World Cup squad.
James Neesham will be a part of the Blackcaps World Cup squad. Photo credit: Photosport
Neesham alongside former Radio Live host Jim Kayes in 2018.
Neesham alongside former Radio Live host Jim Kayes in 2018. Photo credit: Newshub.

Neesham believes social media can be a cesspool of hate, but if users - especially celebrities or sports stars - stay away from controversy and think about any harm their comments could have on others, everyone can have a bit of fun.

"You do [have to be careful] in the age that we live in," Neesham said. "A lot of things are taken as offensive when they're not meant to be offensive.

"Obviously, a lie gets around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on, so I think you have to be pretty careful about the way you word things.

"Certainly, you have to think about things before you put them up."

Media in Australia, England and New Zealand has copped the blame for running the story without clarification, but Neesham believed Faulkner's initial post didn't leave much room for debate.

After spending time involved in New Zealand sports radio, Neesham understood the media had a job to do, but cautioned outlets to stay inside the truth bubble.

"I think the media can decide how they want to do their jobs," Neesham said.

"I think we live in the age of click counts and that sort of thing, so people are always gonna put up what they think is gonna get the most attention.

"From my point of view, it's about telling the truth, saying what I think -  if the media's going to take things the wrong way, then it's probably on them."

The World Cup-bound 28-year-old welcomed the moment a New Zealand or Australian male cricketer came out as gay.

Former English international Steven Davies revealed his sexuality in 2011, noting that decision was tougher than facing Brett Lee's 150kmh right-arm rockets.

Nesham believed this part of the world was mature enough to respect that moment as a triumph for the individual.

"He's [Faulkner] obviously made a bit of a mistake there, but I certainly think it wouldn't be received badly if a cricketer did come out like that.

"Obviously, no-one's done that as yet."