The first casualty has been brought about by the Sky Sports soccer sexism controversy and it’s the termination of main commentator Andy Gray’s lucrative million pound contract.
Gray and his co-host Richard Keys were already in hot water for making disparaging remarks about a female assistant referee, Sian Massey. They questioned her ability, specifically when it came to knowledge of the offside rule before the Wolves vs. Liverpool Premier League game last weekend. Not only was it blatant sexism but complete ignorance considering that Massey went on to make the correct call in the build up to Liverpool’s first goal. And having watched Messrs. Gray and Keys go about their business for many years, there’s little evidence they’re au fait with the offside law.
But now new information has come to light with Gray and reporter Andy Burton discussing Massey’s looks (watch the attached clip above for which Burton has been suspended). Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis had already indicated how seriously the network were taking the situation with a strongly worded statement leaving nobody in any doubt. And further footage has just been released (see below) of Gray making lewd remarks to a female co-host back in December, which seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. This latest clip appears to show Gray making a suggestive comment towards colleague Charlotte Jackson, who does not seem impressed while he and Keys proceed to burst out laughing.
Sky said they’d terminated Gray’s contract — which was in excess of $2 million — “in response to new evidence of unacceptable and offensive behavior,” before going on to state that, “the new evidence, relating to an off-air incident that took place in December, 2010, came to light after Andy Gray had already been subjected to disciplinary action for his comments of 22 January, 2011.”
Gray, who has been heard on U.S. television during the World Cup, will surely struggle to find work with any broadcaster which considers itself enlightened. And that would be all of them.