Cape Town - SuperSport CEO Gideon Khobane has moved to dispel suggestions Nick Mallett walked out of a meeting held to investigate Saturday's sensational on-air studio walk-out by Ashwin Willemse.
In a move that shocked the rugby fraternity, Willemse left the SuperSport set following the Lions' Super Rugby victory over the Brumbies at Ellis Park following a disagreement with fellow analysts Mallett and Naas Botha.
Before he departed, Willemse, who played 19 Tests for the Springboks, said: “I’ve been in the game for a long time like most of us here. As a player, I’ve been called a quota for a long time and I’ve worked very hard to earn the respect I have now. I’m not going to sit here and be patronised by these two individuals (Mallett and Botha) who played their rugby during the apartheid era, a segregated era.”
Willemse went on to say he "can't work with people who undermine other people" and that he was "glad it happened on live TV so that people can see".
Predictably, the situation sparked intense reaction on social media, with SuperSport promising a full investigation into the incident.
On Monday, Khobane briefed media after the meeting and confirmed that while the talks were encouraging, the matter remained unresolved.
MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela, meanwhile, confirmed that talks would continue - at an undisclosed time and date.
When quizzed on whether Mallett walked out of the meeting after he was spotted leaving the SuperSport offices early, Khobane went to great lengths to deny the former Springbok coach had done so.
Khobane confirmed that 'Mallett had a flight to catch as he lives in Cape Town after only arriving at 11:00 having been unable to get on a 06:00 flight to Johannesburg'.
Khobane added that 'Mallett had an appointment on Tuesday which he couldn't divulge - reported to be a doctor's appointment - that had nothing to do with SuperSport nor the incident in question and that's why he had to leave early'.
Watch the press briefing below. Please note, sound only starts 1:50 into the video.