Thursday, 27 January 2011

Andy Gray and Richard Keys.

I have to say I am disgusted at the departure of Andy Gray and Richard Keys from Sky Sports. The giants of football punditry... probably the best at what they do. I am disgusted at Sky Sports for the way they have handled the whole sorrowful matter.

For me, it's an over reaction to Gray and Keys' behaviour on the part of Sky Sports. What was said between the two of them is banter that takes place in pubs and workplaces everyday all over the country. Their dialogue was not broadcast on air - it was a private conversation off air. Yes, what they said was sexist, but not sufficient to merit a sacking.

The fact this off air conversation was made public means somebody at Sky Sports wanted them to pay for it. Or else this would never have seen the light of day. The same goes for the video clips that were released soon after, obviously again by an employee or employees of Sky Sports. Why did they want Gray and Keys out? Jealousy and envy spring to mind. Or perhaps they are ageist and want younger personalities to take their place. Whatever their reason is, it's sad and pathetic behaviour.

Of course, it would not be surprising if it's the same person or people who decided to sack Andy Gray. Apparently, a reprimand was as far as it was going to go until the video clip of him asking Charlotte Jackson to "tuck him in" was released by a Sky Sports employee. It's absolutely ridiculous Gray was sacked because of this clip. Incidents similar to this occur all the time. We would have thousands of men sacked every day if that's a sackable offence. Sky Sports were obviously looking for a reason to sack Gray, and the first little chance they had, they took it. I certainly hope Gray is successful with his plans to sue Sky Sports for £3 million.

What annoys me is how Gray and Keys have been treated differently by many people. Gray is made out to be the bad guy while Keys is looked upon as being led astray. Why? It was Keys that initiated the conversation about the lineswoman. It was also Keys that had a go at Karren Brady. So why do journalists like Henry Winter and Oliver Holt and many other people portray Gray as this seedy figure, but look upon Keys as still a great presenter? I cannot see what Gray has done that is worse than Keys. Surely not that incident with Charlotte Jackson? Come on. Keys made sexist remarks in a video clip where he is referring to an ex-girlfriend of Jamie Redknapp. I can't understand why Sky Sports did not sack Keys if they thought they were justified in sacking Gray. I would love to know their explanation of this, but emailing them will not produce a reply, I'm afraid. Someone or some people at Sky Sports obviously had it in for Gray more so than Keys.

I disagree that the views of Gray and Keys are "prehistoric." As I wrote earlier, views or banter like this happen all over the country every day. The problem is we love in a world that has became increasingly politically correct. Yes, politically correct gone mad. You can't say anything without some killjoy complaining of you being sexist, racist, or homophobic. We have to be extra guarded about what we say, because some humourless person will complain and report it if it falls slighty into the three categories I just mentioned. Lighten up, people. Stop taking everything so seriously. Have a laugh. The world has become too intense, uptight, and humourless.

An example of this is Rio Ferdinand. He tweeted "prehistoric banter, no place for it." Richard Keys was correct when he referred to it with, "Are you telling me it does not take place in the Manchester Utd dressing room? My information is that it does." Ferdinand is a hypocrite, just like Henry Winter and Oliver Holt. Footballers are the last people on earth that should have a right to be critical of a person's morals.

For me, Andy Gray and Richard Keys were and are the best at what they do. Presenting and the analysis of the best of English football. They have been doing it for almost 20 years and it's a great shame they are not being allowed to continue doing so. I will miss them a lot. I would like to think they will be given the opportunity to work for another television broadcaster in the future. If I was the boss at ESPN, I would sign them up as soon as possible. Give them a weekly show so they can continue to give us the highest standard of football presenting and analysis.

Maybe I'm dreaming about that, but it's hard to accept they will never appear again on our screens in the capacity they were working in so well.

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