Sexism, Racism and Media Hypocrisy

What am I ranting about today you ask?

Well I hope its not going to be a rant, but just a couple of observations re the sexism in football story. See Guardian Newspaper for the background.


To put it in a nutshell Sky TV employed Richard Keys as a presenter and Andy Gray as a pundit on its soccer programme. The two were recorded, whilst off air on Saturday before the Wolves v Liverpool game making remarks about one of the match officials, a female lineswoman (assistant referee) called Sian Massey.


Keys: ‘Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her (the female referee).’

Gray: ‘Can you believe that? A female linesman. Women don’t know the offside rule.’

Keys: ‘Course they don’t. I can guarantee you there will be a big one (offside call) today. Kenny (Dalglish, Liverpool’s manager) will go potty. This isn’t the first time, is it? Didn’t we have one before?’

Keys: (Referring to Karren Brady’s newspaper column) ‘The game’s gone mad. Did you hear charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Do me a favour, love.’


There were also a couple of other exchanges , one the same day and one back in December. None of these were broadcast and it seems that in all cases the “victims” had not complained. Sky TV have sacked Andy Gray, but not Richard Keys. The basis seemingly being that the December incident involved Gray making remarks not Keys, although apparently Keys was laughing at those remarks.

Richard Keys apparently has form for other sexist remarks according to today’s Guardian Newspaper

The new evidence against Keys, in which he refers to the woman as “it” and twice asks the former Liverpool and Spurs player if he “smashed it”, appeared to come from the same source as the earlier Gray video and was posted from the same YouTube account. In it Keys is recorded chatting to Redknapp, Ruud Gullit and Graeme Souness before going on air at Stamford Bridge. The conversation begins with someone behind the camera mentioning a former girlfriend of Redknapp called Louise. Keys asks Redknapp whether he “smashed it” and the former player replies that he “used to go out with her”.

As Gullit fiddles with his phone and Souness tries to interject, Keys returns to the question. “Mind you, that’s a stupid question, if you were anywhere near it, you definitely smashed it. You could have gone round there any night and found Redknapp hanging out the back of it,” he says, laughing.



  • I have no issue with Sky TV taking action against either of these two presenters. The remarks are indeed sexist and have no place in football. If nothing else they are undermining the officials in the game for no good reason. I have seen several female officials and they are no different to male ones. They are as equally capable as male officials.
  • I would query why Sky TV have sacked one of the protagonists but not the other
  • I would query whether Sky TV have gone through the proper disciplinary procedure before sacking their employee
  • A few years ago, Ron Atkinson was hounded to resign from his role as a TV pundit on ITV’s football coverage after making a racist comment
  • Ron Atkinson’s media work came to an abrupt halt on 21 April 2004, when he was urged to resign from ITV by Brian Barwick after he broadcast a racial remark live on air about the black Chelsea player Marcel Desailly; believing the microphone to be switched off, he said, “…he [Desailly] is what some people would call a fucking lazy nigger”.
  • Ron Atkinson has never worked in broadcasting since. Yet it seems Sky TV are happy for Richard Keys to continue to broadcast. Is what Ron Atkinson said worse than that said by Richard Keys and or Andy Gray? I would point out here that Gray/ Keys said females were not up to the job- i.e. that was what they believed,; whereas Atkinson was referring to what other people would say – i.e. not saying he believed that. In my view what Atkinson said was wrong and cannot be condoned, but I would query whether it is worse than that said by Gray/ Keys?
  • ITV broadcast every weekday lunchtime a programme called Loose Women which consists of a panel of 4 or so women generally discussing things from a women’s point of view and consists of lots of sexist comments about men to the effect that men are useless etc. Why is this not only acceptable, but a  positively encouraged attitude by ITV. Why is sexist behaviour wrong if done by a man and not when done by the Loose Women?
  • Some parts of the Media are incredibly hypocritical in that they happily publish pictures of topless models or snap shots of minor celebrities making them , especially females ones, to be the object of sexual titillation – e.g. showing pictures of “wardrobe malfunctions”. The same media outlets are calling for Sky TV to sack the two presenters.  People who live in glass houses etc.…..?

    I suppose my issue overall is the inconsistency of actions by the powers that be against racism/ sexism in general and the hypocrisy of the media in all this

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