Andy Gray and Five Other Idiotic Commentators

Eamonn QuinnCorrespondent IIJanuary 26, 2011

Andy Gray and Five Other Idiotic Commentators

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    Andy Gray will have a lot more time for golfing now that he has lost his job on Sky Sports.

    Gray was fired yesterday for making sexist comments along with co-commentator Richard Keys about female Line-person Sian Massey preceding the Wolves vs. Liverpool game, and for sexist comments he made to Sky presenter Charlotte Jackson.

    Andy was a bit of an eejit for saying what he said, and deserved to get fired for his prehistoric and utterly reprehensible attitude towards women in a male-driven arena. Sky had no hesitation in firing him in order to avoid vilification in a world that becomes steadily more obsessed with the PC movement.

    With that in mind, let's look at five other individuals who landed themselves in hot water for making controversial statements that were caught on mic.

Ron Atkinson

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    Atkinson was a respected and well thought of pundit for ITV football.

    Considered as somewhat of a sage voice in the world of TV commentary, having previously managed, among others, Manchester United, Atkinson was a firmly established fan favorite with strong credibility. 

    That was, of course, until the 2004 Champions League semi-final between Monaco and Chelsea where, at half time, ITV mikes that were supposed to be disconnected caught Atkinson making racist comments about Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly, referring to him as "a f****** lazy thick n*****"

    Indeed this was not the first time Atkinson had made such a gaffe, once remarking on German television that Francesco Totti "looks like a little twat." But the Desailly incident was the final straw, and he was promptly fired by both ITV and the Guardian newspaper, for whom he wrote a regular column.

    Atkinson has since brought out an autobiography explaining his comments and has done limited TV and radio work with Bravo and William HIll.

    However, his character recovery operation took a bit of a hit a year later when he claimed that Chinese women were '"the ugliest on the planet."

    The Desailly incident, as well as the other instances of bigotry, have severely damaged his marketability and forever undermined his credibility.

Rodney Marsh

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    Rodney Marsh, a man named after a battleship and who saw out his career at the Tampa Bay Rowdies, was prone to a brain-fart or two.

    Marsh was employed for 11 years by Sky Sports as one of their regular pundits for the successful and popular score-tracking show Gillette Soccer Saturday.

    Once when asked whether Fabio Cappello could lead England to the World Cup, Marsh replied that "Christopher Biggins could lead us to a World Cup." Considering England's performance at the tournament, they may have been better off had they been managed by the well-known pantomime actor.

    Marsh also famously commented, preceding the 1999-2000 Premiership season, that Kevin Phillips would "struggle to score six goals." Phillips scored 30.

    But Marsh went too far in 2005 when, while working as a pundit on You're on Sky Sports, he commented that David Beckham would not move to Newcastle after what "the Toon Army did in Thailand."

    This was a month after the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami that killed nearly 200,000 people. Unsurprisingly, Marsh has not been employed as a pundit on Sky Sports since this incident.

Richard Keys

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Richard Keys seems to have nine lives.His involvement in the incident that preceded Andy Gray's sacking is just the latest in a long line of idiotic comments.

    Keys in 2007 while introducing highlights of a Euro 2008 qualifier between the Faroe Islands and Scotland was heard by viewers of Sky HD to say "No promos, can't be arsed, see ya. Daft little ground, silly game, f*** off." 

    This was followed in April 2010 by Keys the leaked audio of Keys mauling Arsenal's Theo Walcott while Walcott was down injured, screaming at him to get up and saying "You've been s***e, son, in your daft pink boots...absolute rubbish."

    Keys' new implication in the Andy Gray affair may well be the straw that broke the Camel's back and may cost Richie his job.

    But if it doesn't, maybe at the very least it will have finally clued him in to the dangers of running his mouth around live microphones.

Alan Pardew

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    I actually don't see the big deal with this one.

    We all know Alan Pardew as the player-turned-manager who used to be the boss at West Ham and Charlton and who is currently the Manager at Newcastle United.

    Pardew has had some famous managerial incidents, most notably his touch-line scuffle with Arsene Wenger after his delirious celebration of West Ham beating the Gunners in November 2006.

    Pardew makes this list for the comments made in the video above while on Match of the Day 2 where he can be heard to chuckle that Michael Essien "absolutely rapes" Ched Evans.

    There was various complaints made after the show and Pardew has never been on MOTD as a pundit since, all of which justifies his place on this list.

    But in reality, rape is not of itself an inappropriate word and when used in this context I would find it difficult to fathom how anyone could find such comments offensive.

    It is my view that this incident was blown way out of proportion and that Pardew ought not be considered in the same vein as certain other offenders.

Claire Balding

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    In the interests of being PC, a woman has to make the list.

    This one is not about soccer, but it is a bit ridiculous. After winning the Grand National, victorious jockey Liam Treadwell was interviewed by BBC racing correspondent Claire Balding who advised him to use some of his prize money to get his "teeth done."

    The remarks made in the aftermath of the race were in very bad taste and obviously disturbed the clearly nervous and camera-shy jockey.

    There was a slew of complaints in the aftermath of Balding's inconsiderate remarks, precipitating an official apology from the BBC for any offense caused.

    Shockingly though, despite what was a protracted and vocal controversy, Balding retained her job at the BBC.


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    I think the conclusion of this article is fairly obvious. 

    The incidents featured here were all unpleasant, but for the most part it is good that they happened, as they revealed the nature of some despicable individuals who would otherwise still be broadcasting free from public scrutiny.

    And to anyone else who could find themselves on television: a warning.

    Racists, sexists, bigots and idiots beware. 

    There is always a live mic somewhere.