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Richard Keys and Andy Gray

There’s a sexism storm brewing over these shores at the moment.

It started earlier on in the week, when two well-known, and well-respected TV sports presenters slagged off a female line referee, questioning her ability to do the job.

Here’s an excerpt from the Daily Mail (hateful newspaper) on the story.

Sky Sports presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys are at the centre of a sexism row after they questioned whether a female assistant referee knew the offside rule during a Premier League match.
The commentators, who apparently believed their microphones were switched off, were recorded making disparaging remarks about Sian Massey, 25, before Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Wolves on Saturday.

They also criticised West Ham vice-chairman and Apprentice star Karren Brady, who had written about sexism in a newspaper column on Saturday.

Commenting on Ms Massey, Mr Keys said: ‘Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her.’
Mr Gray, a former Scotland striker, 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 Dalglish) will go potty. This isn’t the first time, is it? Didn’t we have one before?’
Later in the exchange, Mr Keys said: ‘The game’s gone mad. Did you hear charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Do me a favour, love.’

Since this conversation took place, Andy Gray has been sacked by his employers for gross misconduct, after this video of him making sexual suggestions to a female co-presenter surfaced:

There’s been a lot of talk and discussion around the subject of whether or not Andy should have been fired from his job, for what apparently only amounted to “banter” and general goosing around.

There was a woman who came on the radio yesterday, and basically said she didn’t understand why there was such a big hooha over these comments. She said something along the lines of “all of us at one time or other have been subject to these kinds of comments, it’s just messing about and it doesn’t mean anything”.

There were a few other women who came on and echoed these sentiments, including a female truck driver.

An old football player, known for his less than PC views on all isms, basically tried defending Andy’s actions. Alan Brazil, I’m talking about you.

There were lots of stories of women who’d been subjected to the same sexual innuendos, and general dismissal of their abilities in the work place. Some of these women didn’t like it, others just seemed to shrug their shoulders and accept that it was an inevitable part of their working environment.

For me it’s pretty cut and dried. Employers can’t let behaviour like that go unpunished. They just can’t. Or at least, they shouldn’t. BSkyB is a major brand, and they can’t afford to be seen to be associated with such blatant sexism on their watch, that would surely make them complicit in this affair?

People have talked about a set-up, and witch hunts against these two presenters, but even if they were set up, I’m pretty sure nobody made Andy Gray utter those unsavoury comments to Charlotte Jackson (see Youtube video). In most places of employment, that shit is gross misconduct.

What some of the women who came on and defended Gray and Keys don’t seem to realise, is that it’s crap like this that keep women oppressed in the work place, and in life in general, and perhaps forever seen as second class citizens. The power base between men and women are along the same lines as those of white people and black people. We all know who historically holds power over the other.
This is why, it can never just be “banter”. Would we be as accepting of a white guy jokingly asking a black guy to shine his shoes because that’s all his type are good for? Would we? Really?

Acceptance of such behaviour has wider reaching consequences than just this one instance. Women are subjected to double standards on a daily basis. Hypocritical thought processes such as ‘women who sleep around are whores, whilst men who do the same are players and not in a bad way’ to women being paid significantly less than men. It all counts, and what makes me really angry is that a lot of women tend to be ok with this, and more often than not, endorse these outdated notions.

A lot of good women and men have fought for the equality, such as it is, that we have now. Had those people not stood up during pivotal moments in history, we’d probably still be chained to the kitchen sink, serving our masters, and having no other uses other than getting pregnant.

There’s a quote by Martin Luther King that I think is perfect, with regards to this issue:

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

Every time there’s an outcry against institutional racism or sexism, we grow a little more as a people. I really believe that.

By the way, Richard Keys tended his resignation yesterday after giving this interview on Talksport.

So, what say you? Should Andy Gray have been fired, or do you think like so many others that it was just two people having fun with each other? And what do you think of the comments re Sian Massey and Karren Brady?


  • I really have to wonder if these men that say these sexiest things are worried about women in general. People who take potshots at others based on looks, gender or what have you is sign they find they’re lacking in some way or have low self-esteem and feel if they make rude remarks, they’ll feel better about themselves.


  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Karen Scott, Karen Scott. Karen Scott said: KKB Post of The Day: Should Sexual Innuendos Aimed At Women Ever Be Acceptable In The Work Place? http://tinyurl.com/5r7bawk […]

  • Sue
    January 27
    4:46 pm

    Fifteen years ago, I encountered sexism with an international company at a time the US was grappling with work place harassment. But I was told to suck it up because we were not in the US and the company didn’t want to offend the European countries over a cultural issue.

    So, Karen, I wholeheartedly agree with your statement,
    “Every time there’s an outcry against institutional racism or sexism, we grow a little more as a people. I really believe that.”

    In order to grow, we must set the example of how we want society to act. Sexism is a form of discrimination. The antidote to discrimination is tolerance.

    In an earlier blog, you commended President Obama’s speech at the memorials held in Tucson. Indeed, President Obama is an example of black meets white, of the potential we have as a colorblind society. It is no different than men vs. women, Republican vs. Democrat, Christian vs. Islam; the two divided groups must come together.

    President Obama said at that memorial, “But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized — at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do — it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.”

    At times I find your outspokenness inspirational but others times not so. I was disappointed to read the unpleasant interchange on yesterday’s blog. Using the words “profoundly stupid” and “fuck off” does not garner tolerance that President Obama seeks. It only feeds into the image that some sexist men have of women and their abilities.


  • At times I find your outspokenness inspirational but others times not so. I was disappointed to read the unpleasant interchange on yesterday’s blog.

    The thing is Sue, that exchange exemplified an integral part of myself that I refuse to change. I actually like that part of myself. I like the fact that if somebody pisses me off, I don’t have a problem telling them to fuck off. Quite frankly, more women should try it. Had I been Charlotte Jackson, I’d have told Andy Gray to fuck off in no uncertain terms.

    I’m only ever overtly rude to people who come on here with an aggressive stance, wagging their fingers at me. I’m rarely rude to the people who disagree with me in a civil manner, because I do know how to carry on a debate, without using expletives, however, as this is the internet, I absolutely refuse to humour assholes who come on here, on somebody else’s say-so, and insult me without getting a lay of the land first.

    Anybody who does that will only ever experience the intolerant side of me. Oh, and that commenter got the title wrong anyway, so yes, she was profoundly stupid, and she better not do it again on my blog.

    By the way, please don’t harbour any illusions about me. My outspokenness is not meant to inspire people, it’s just the way I’m hard-wired. I have my fantastic mother and late father to thank for that. It does mean that people who cross me once, rarely try it again. They just go off and mutter in a dark corner somewhere about me being the devil’s spawn, which is ok by me.


  • wendy
    January 27
    10:56 pm

    After reading what Keys said in the Talksports interview, it seems to me that he doesn’t have a clear notion that there is a difference between broadcasting opinions over television or radio and in ‘lads-just-being-lads’ conversations in locker rooms. As a public personality he should be aware that he should act in a circumspect manner whenever he is near a microphone.

    Generally, I feel alienated by the boy banter that passes for commentary on television sports shows. If I watch a male sporting match I do so with the commentary muted.

    Unfortunately, I am part of the ‘appalling silence of the good people’. After once being sickened when a cricket commentator (Tony Grieg– surprised?) said a West Indian cricketer looked like a monkey, I did not phone the tv station, expecting others to do so. I was wrong. There was no uproar. I don’t watch the cricket anymore.


  • eggs
    January 28
    4:22 am

    Sexism is just another form of bigotry. In a better world, no one would be a bigot. In this world, plenty of people are and I’m all in favour of firing their arses every chance we get. Frankly, I’m disappointed that there is even a debate about this – it seems self evident that we should be stomping hard on every incident of public bigotry we come across.

    Regardless of my personal feelings, these guys were paid a big salary by their employers because they were expected to attract a big audience. Then they went and alienated a huge chunk of the audience they were paid to attract. It’s a bit of a no-brainer for their employer to fire them and replace them with someone else who hasn’t alienated half the audience. They could hold X-factor style open auditions to find replacements. I’m sure there are thousands of blokes out there who would be happy to audition for the jobs.


  • As long as it’s tolerated and ‘accepted’ as banter and joking, then it will continue.

    Period. It shouldn’t be accepted.


  • enc
    January 28
    10:27 am

    As to whether they should have been fired or not it depends on the rules at their employer. There is no point firing someone just because there is a public outcry only for them to turn round and win a constructive or unfair dismissal claim.

    In any case the FA is reporting an increase in the number of women calling their switchboard asking how to qualify as a referee.


  • shelleyannsmith
    January 28
    4:26 pm

    So happy that ass-wipe got fired. What a dick! Ditto on the other asshole! You go Karen!!


  • “that it’s crap like this that keep women oppressed in the work place, and in life in general.”

    Agreed – those men are patronizing wankers but I have to say that women bully other women just as much in the workplace.


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