As we are repeatedly told, particularly during an Ashes series, 'banter' in sport is acceptable. It is fun, it adds a bit of spice to a contest and fans can associate with it.
But Australia coach Darren Lehmann has leapt about four levels beyond mere 'banter' and advocated abuse. That is not acceptable.
Lehmann unleashed an extraordinary broadside against "cheating" Stuart Broad and went as far as to encourage Australia supporters to abuse the England bowler.
Broad has earned the wrath of Australia's players and fans this summer following a number of incidents during the current Test series, but the Australia coach somehow managed to criticise the England player's interpretation of the 'Spirit of Cricket' while calling on fans and players to "make him cry".
Lehmann advocated in an interview with Australia radio station Triple M that Australian fans make sure they let Broad know what they think of him when the next series starts on November 21 in Brisbane, even going as far as laying out their rather dubious options.
"Certainly our players haven't forgotten, they're calling him everything under the sun as they go past," he said. "I hope the Australian public are the same because that was just blatant cheating. I don't advocate walking but when you hit it to first slip it's pretty hard.
"From my point of view I just hope the Australian public give it to him right from the word go for the whole summer and I hope he cries and he goes home. I just hope everyone gets stuck into him because the way he's carried on and the way he's commented in public about it is ridiculous."
In addition to accusing Broad of cheating and of untoward antics, Lehmann proceeded to suggest that he is letting the umpires - much-maligned during a controversial series - take all the blame on his behalf.
"He hit it to first slip ... and the biggest problem there is the poor umpire cops all the crap that he gets in (the) paper and Stuart Broad makes them look like fools. From my point of view it's poor, so I hope the public actually get stuck into him.
The 27-year-old famously did not walk when he nicked a ball behind in the first Test, while he has also been accused of time-wasting tactics to benefit England when they have been up against it.
The Nottinghamshire man admitted this week that he knew he had hit the ball at Trent Bridge, while speaking of England's win-at-all-costs mentality, but his single-minded, ultra-competitive approach does not excuse Lehmann's comments.
Imploring fans to "give it" to a player, to "get stuck into him" so that he "cries and goes home" cannot be confused with anything other than inciting unnecessary abuse.
There have always been pantomime villains in Ashes contests - none more so than Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath on tours to England - but nothing more than humorous chants and light-hearted 'banter' from behind the rope should be excused.
Lehmann owes Broad and England an apology, but more than that he owes the wider game an apology. If coaches are allowed to promote abuse from fans then the sport has to look at itself very harshly.
The 'Spirit of Cricket' has been tested during key moments of a typically heated Ashes series, but Lehmann must hastily backtrack and apologise for comments that were cold, calculated and entirely uncalled-for.