Sunday, 23 January 2011

What’s the difference?

In April 2004 Ron Atkinson, former football manager and ITV commentator, was forced to resign following a racist outburst after a football match. Atkinson didn’t realise his microphone was still live when he launched into his offensive remarks about Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly, following Chelsea’s defeat in the Champions League. The Guardian also cancelled Atkinson’s football column and his career in British broadcasting never recovered.

massey Today the Mail Online reports that Sky Sports presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys have been recorded making sexist comments about a female match official before yesterday’s game between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool. These are the comments about referee’s assistant (new name for linesman) Sian Massey according to the Mail:
Commenting on Ms Massey, Mr Keys said: ‘Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her.’
Mr Gray, a former Scottish international footballer, replied: ‘Can you believe that? A female linesman. Women don’t know the offside rule.’
Mr Keys replied: ‘Course they don’t. I can guarantee you there will be a big one today. Kenny (Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish) will go potty. This isn’t the first time, is it? Didn’t we have one before?’
That was not the end of the duo’s erudite banter. Commenting on an article about sexism by Karren Brady, West Ham Utd’s vice-chairman, Keys went on to say:
‘The game’s gone mad. Did you hear charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Do me a favour, love.’
Ron Atkinson quite rightly lost his job for his racist comments. What will happen to Gray and Keys following their sexist lament? Will they be forced to resign or will the football and broadcasting establishment try and laugh the matter off?

My young daughter loves playing and watching football. The views of Gray and Keys, who think it is funny to make derogatory comments about women, have no place in the game. I fail to see the difference between their blatant sexism and the racism that has also sullied the beautiful game.

Update: Sky has released a statement saying that Gray and Keys have apologised for their remarks. Is this enough? What if they had made comments about the linesman's ethnicity rather than her gender?

Update 2: I see that Sky have suspended Gray and Keys for tonight's game between Bolton and Chelski. Some indication that they are taking this seriously, but is it enough?

Update 3 (25th): Andy Gray has been sacked by Sky as more material has come to light.


Sue D said...

I don't know anything about football, but I know many many women are keen supporters. I can't help wondering if these two commentators are simply totally out of touch with their audience.

Apologies without any positive action from them really don't mean anything.

Anonymous said...

I think this proves that you cant say anything about someone of another race or colour but women once again are once again deemed to be not that worthy of equal rights still