Andy Gray and the Start of One Long PC Nightmare For Football?
Today it was confirmed that Andy Gray (a 55-year-old football pundit and former Scottish International) was sacked by sports broadcasting giants, Sky Sports, for seemingly sexist comments made in an off-air conversation between Gray and his co-worker, Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys.
Video evidence of Gray making sexist remarks in another off-air conversation prior to a live broadcast of Monday Night Football also led to the sacking.
During the 12-second YouTube clip, Gray appears to turn toward Sky Sports News presenter Charlotte Jackson, whilst tucking a microphone down his trousers, saying, "Charlotte, can you tuck that down here for me?" before he burst out laughing.
The investigation of Gray began after a conversation between he and Keys on Sky Sports' Super Sunday, in which the pair talk about the introduction of a female linesman to a game between Liverpool and Wolves.
After Gray remarked that the woman should be taught the offside rule, Keys went on to discuss West Ham's Karren Brady in an apparently sexist fashion.
Sian Massey, the 25-year-old assistant at the centre of the row, has withdrawn from tonight's match between Crewe Alexandra and Bradford City, where she was supposed to work as the lineswoman.
Sky Sports said in a statement, "Sky Sports today terminated its contract with Andy Gray. The decision, which is effective immediately, was made in response to new evidence of unacceptable and offensive behaviour."
Now, the field day begins for conspiracy theorists.
Many viewers of Sky Sports (owned by BSkyB) are unaware that Gray is currently embroiled in a legal battle with The News of the World, a subsidiary of a company owned by Rupert Murdoch.
However, at least a few Internet-users have recognized this connection.
One Tweet reads, "Andy Gray sues News of the World for phone tapping. Sexist tapes (mostly recorded by Sky) leaked. Coincidence?," and a blog entry entitled "Rupert Murdoch, Phone-Tapping and Revenge Against Gray" can now be found online.
Gray claims that his phone was hacked by The News of the World, as does actor and comedian, Steve Coogan. Thus, many believe that he has been sacked by an employer upset by his lawsuit.
In my opinion, these conspiracy theories are viable. Additionally, the recording of Gray's conversations represents a breach of privacy.
Celebrities should be able to converse without the threat of being taped.
Gray's sacking and Key's suspension reflect the conspiratorial nature of the Murdoch-Sky Sports relationship.
Sexist comments should not ruin a career. There are honestly bigger things in the world to worry about.
Football could be ruined by this movement toward political correctness. Every commentator will have to be wary of what is said at all times.
It is, in fact, PC gone mad.
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