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Would you sack Andy Gray and Richard Keys?

Poll #1673903 Andy Gray and Richard Keys

If you were in charge of Sky Sports, would you have sacked Andy Gray and Richard Keys?

Maybe (explain below)



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 28th, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC)
There is no possible alternate universe where I would be in charge of Sky Sports. It would Never Happen.
Jan. 28th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
Surely Everettian physics says that there must be at least one...
Jan. 29th, 2011 12:19 am (UTC)
Me neither!!!!
I would have to sack myself
Jan. 29th, 2011 08:00 am (UTC)
For them to plead that they were only joking doesn't fly. If we lived in a world where there hadn't been a lengthy history of women being considered unable to do the same things as men, and having to fight like billy-oh first to prove that they could and then to be allowed to do them regularly, then, yes, it would be a joke. (That's why it's not sexist - just annoying - when women say stupid negative things about men in general. I wish they'd stop it, but it doesn't actually do any damage to men, because nobody has ever thought men were an inferior subspecies.)

But being a football official is still an area where a woman has to work a lot harder than a man to get to an equivalent position. I'll grant you that, even given full equality, there would still be fewer women than men doing it, partly because it's likely that fewer women would want to, and partly because you need a very high level of fitness that takes time to attain and to maintain, and I suspect that there are fewer women than men around who are willing to put in that time. Some generalisations about the sexes are true, though obviously they need to be used with caution because there are always a lot of exceptions, and one of them appears to be that men in general tend to be more single-minded, whereas women are better multi-taskers. You need to be fairly single-minded to be a football official. Even so, there are still far fewer women doing it than one would reasonably expect, and for a woman who is clearly good at it to be gratuitously insulted just because she is a woman is absolutely unacceptable. If they hadn't been sacked, the message it would have given to other women wanting to be match officials would have been an unequivocal "we don't want you". They had to go.

Interestingly, I recently read a report about a match which was refereed by a woman, and several people expressed pleasant surprise at the fact that the players behaved themselves much better than usual. I can't recall which team it was, but if I find it again I'll let you know. The main thing was that the players were normally pretty bad about dishing out abuse to referees, but the female one mainly kept them in line. I suppose it's a bit like having your mum on the pitch. More of this, please! :-)
Jan. 29th, 2011 09:15 am (UTC)
The remarks about the female assistant ref would have earned them a very stern reprimand and a "do it again and you're out" but one of 'em had already done something similar, so he would have been out immediately.

It is part of good HR and employment law that people should be adequately warned.

Personally, the fact that everyone was laughing at them for being wrong when the lino (yes, I not only heard this term on radio but heard it recommended as being non-sexist and therefore okay) not only understood the offside rule but was right when they were wrong wouldn't have done their careers any good anyway.

What I find really, really annoying is that the 'lino' in question has been stopped from officiating at her last two scheduled matches because, and I quote, "It wouldn't be fair to the clubs."
Jan. 29th, 2011 09:17 am (UTC)
They're sexist buffoons, certainly, but so are the majority of their viewers and most of the players on the pitch. If the comments offend someone, well, they've got plenty of other channels to choose from - if enough of them go that the show isn't viable, that's a different matter. The opinions of the hand-wringers who've never watched Sky Sports and never will are, as far as I'm concerned, completely irrelevant.

How about we don't start punishing people for thoughtcrimes?
Jan. 30th, 2011 12:28 pm (UTC)
Same response if they had been racist instead of sexist? (say the linesman had been black).
Jan. 30th, 2011 01:15 pm (UTC)
Absolutely. Though in that case they might have offended more of their viewers. My only concern would be whether the programme had enough viewers to justify its existence.

Their opinions are just that, their opinions. I don't have to agree, or condone, or accept the premise that they are the official position of the channel.
Jan. 30th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
I'm torn on this. My first reaction was that holding what would seem to be an irrational view on whether a particular subset of humans would make a good referee's assistant would make the holder of those views unsuitable to be a television analyst.
And I'm sympathetic with Gabby Logan (nee Yorath)'s observation that the comments were not made with any sense of humour (which is obvious when you listen to their tone).

On the other hand, king_of_wrong makes a good point that sacking someone because of an unfashionable opinion is not a good precedent. And these views are unfashionable more than they are fundamentally wrong. Not that long ago, the vast majority of people in football would have agreed with Mr Keys and Mr Gray.

If I was Sky Sports controller, I think what would make my mind up is the two subsequent videos. These are the ones where a) Mr Gray makes a suggestive remark to a female co-presenter and b) Mr Keys makes very lewd remarks to studio Jamie Redknapp about a former girlfriend. While the female co-presenter doesn't look too offended, Jamie Redknapp does look uncomfortable. Both of these incidents were off-air, but they were in the workplace. And that's important.

If I go into the office tomorrow and say to a male colleague that women don't make good auditors, and a female colleague overheard this, I might expect to get a ticking off. If I made a suggestive remark to a younger female colleague I would expect formal disciplinary procedures. That would also be the case if I made a client uncomfortable with lewd comments about his former girlfriend.

With a very public job such as television presenter, 'formal disciplinary procedures' isn't enough. So to answer my own question, and for those reasons, I would have done the old Alan Sugar "With regret, you're fired."
Jan. 31st, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
I don't think they should have been sacked for the remark about the female ref, but possibly for the lewd remark to the female colleague.

I am, however, deeply suspicious about the timing of all this, in relation to the phone hacking complaint made against another News International owned business by one of the men involved. Why was it that these off-air remarks got released when they did?
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )