Friday, January 28, 2011

There’s Nothing Gray About This – It’s Plainly Black & White

Unless you’ve been living under a duvet all week (congratulations if you have) you can’t failed to have missed the current sexism row over at the Sky Corporation that has claimed the liver-spotted scalps of Andy Gray and Richard Keys. I’m sure they’ll make nice shower caps for somebody.

What can one say about their behaviour? Childish? Ill advised? Thoughtless? Stupid? We’ve all heard the “it was only banter” excuse wheeled out by various pundits in the aftermath of this politically incorrect implosion. They were just having a laugh, etc, appealing to the most common denominator of their traditional viewing demographics, they was talkin’ football after all weren’t they and we all know what footballers and football fans are like, don’t we?

Yeah. Thick. Tasteless. Atonal. Neanderthal. Synaptically challenged. Their knowledge of Archimedean geometry limited to the Off-Side rule.

Am I being sexist? No, I’m being deliberately offensive.

Mr Gray and Mr Keys however were deliberately sexist. Let’s be honest, there isn’t a linesman or a referee in the world that hasn’t been slagged off by some football fan either in a pub or on the radio or on the TV.

But the complaints will have centred around a piece of bad decision making or a bad call. It won’t have revolved around or centred around the gender of the official.

Andy Gray was quite within his right to take the female lineswoman to task if he felt her call was a bad one. What he didn’t have a right to do was to cast aspersions upon her qualifications for the role – these qualifications quite plainly in Gray’s view being compromised simply because she was a woman. Out of order. Then of course we had the old, tired, lazy verbal exchange about what do women know about the Off-Side rule anyway?

Oh ho ho. Because obviously the Off-Side rule is so difficult to grasp and beyond the capacity of a woman to comprehend that it explains why there are no female scientists, astronomers, quantum physicists, astronauts, surgeons and, oh yeah, professional footballers.

It wasn’t banter. Banter (in my book) is clever and entertaining. There was nothing clever or entertaining about the guff that Gray and Keys came out with. It was like listening to a couple of male 6th formers giggling in the back of a bus about all the girls they fancy but are too scared to actually talk to. You just wanted to slap them both across the back of the head and tell them to grow some pubic hair.

As for the moans that this whole debacle has turned into a witch-hunt I can do no better than direct you to Misssy M whose post on this issue will open up a whole other side of thought and debate.

For the record:

Gray was right to be sacked.
Keys should have leapt onto his own sword sooner.
And yes I despise football utterly utterly.

Because it seems to me that it nurtures and throws billions of pounds at oafish stereotyping behaviour.

Dare to say I’m wrong? Just read the newspapers. Every. Sodding. Week.



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38 comments:

lunarossa said...

We are on the same line of thoughts, as usual, Steve. Couldnt' care less about the TV football and all the circus around it. But I live with football as both my son and my daughter play football and a lot of it. It's a lovely sport to play, a boring one to watch and even a worse one to talk about. Have a nice weekend. Ciao. A.

Steve said...

Lunarossa: "It's a lovely sport to play, a boring one to watch and even a worse one to talk about." Totally agree. Except maybe the bit about "a lovely sport to play". ;-)

Alienne said...

Spot on analysis there. It was clearly sexist and, if you listen to the tape there is nothing jokey about the tone of their voices. The unpleasant harrassment of the female colleague was dreadful. They are just plain nasty dinosaurs who seemed to be unaware that that kind of behaviour in a (mixed) work place is completely unacceptable. I would say good riddance, except that nothing on earth would persuade me to subscribe to Sky so I have never had the misfortune to watch them!

Steve said...

Alienne: the other excuse I've heard is that these "poor" guys didn't realize their microphones were still turned on. What? In a studio full of recording equipment and they were all wired up? So there you go - stupid as well as sexist.

the fly in the web said...

Ghastly pair.
I've listened to some of their commentary...if you can call it that...before, at a Sky owning football fanatic's house (my mother) and it left me longing for a quiet accurate account, not an exhibitionist show.
What must their working environment be that they felt free to utter such obviously discriminatory stuff?

Steve said...

The Fly In The Web: I imagine they are surrounded by top shelf magazines, a box of (jokingly) man sized tissues and copies of The Sun newspaper.

autumnraven said...

I can say that you are probably the only blogger I know that I'd read whatever you wrote...no matter what. I hate sports, yet I still enjoyed this post and I make it a point to say any nice thing that pops into my head. Have a good weekend :)

autumnraven said...

PS..I realize it wasn't about the sports but considering I hate sports and I'm guessing this wasn't American football I really had no clue about the whole thing so I couldn't really comment on the post subject matter.

Steve said...

Autumnraven: It was indeed not American football but our girlie alternative (ha!). Thank you very much for your kind comments; if there were more people like you around and less people like Andy Gray the world would be a better place.

Nota Bene said...

As you know I'm not a great football fan (but aren't The Seagulls doing well this season?) so am never surprised at the disreputable behaviour of anyone associated with it. I don't want to live in a society that is so overly-politically correct you can't say or do anything, but they stepped way beyond the boundaries. The fall out is continuing, as I see she can't referee this weekend because of the media interest...no doubt they're just waiting for her to make a bad decision.

misssy m said...

Well, you know my thoughts...Thanks for linking to my post. It's provoked some very interesting comments from my readers including one i never knew I had -someone else who worked with the MD in my story. I hope the bastard reads it.

Steve said...

Nota Bene: that's a shame. Do hope it doesn't hamper her career - she's the unwitting victim in all this but I daresay there are plenty of spiteful Neanderthals who'll think differently (or rather not think at all).

Misssy M: always a pleasure to link to a class piece of writing! ;-)

Nana Go-Go said...

I LOVE football but not for the personalities or the egos but for the sport itself - although as a nation, we`ve always been highly disappointed in our national side`s ability to win ANYTHING!Apart from that, I totally agree that both of the chauvinistic,nasty,egotistical bastards should have been tuffed from their elevated steeds-just hope their boots won`t be filled with more of the same disguised as `nice guys`.
ps on page 52 - so far so very good

Steve said...

Nana Go-Go: alas, there is plenty of more-of-the-same in the football world. Really pleased you're enjoying the novel-to-be!

Kelloggsville said...

Ok I admit it .. I don't understand the offside rule but it's not because I'm a woman... It's because I don't give a shit. I also am not overly bothered about what they said either. Sexism is rife (from both sides), sometimes amusingly, sometimes not so but life is life and I'm not convinced this was all worth the fuss. I've suffered from sexist remarks and events much like Missy M most of my working life because I work in a male dominated environment. What I have learnt is it will never change and dealing with it by kicking up a storm just makes it worse, I think a public apology and a debate about why they were wrong would have achieved more. Sacking them creates a defensiveness amongst the sexist massive that means still nothing will change.

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: I think it will change. I think things have changed. And like all change, it comes kicking, screaming and biting. But come it does. That is a big source of comfort in all this. We've gone from tacit acceptance to impassioned debate. People are thinking and evaluating. All to the good.

Barry Coidan said...

I'm tempted to think that none of this would have surfaced had not Megalomaniac Murdoch been bidding for the rest of BSkyB.

That said I find the whole thing not worthy of comment.

These two ex pundits will now sink below the surface and spend the rest of their lives regretting the loss of a £1 million a year contract. I can think of no better comment on the values of what is laughingly called "sport".

Gorilla Bananas said...

You can defend her all you like, but she'll never respect a man who despises football. You blew your credentials there, amigo, she'd probably think you were a sissy if she read this.

Steve said...

Barry: I have no doubt that the pair of them will resurface somewhere soon. Probably on Strictly Come Dancing.

Gorilla Bananas: you're probably right. She'd only want a trophy husband anyway. And would I want a partner whose ball control is better than mine?

Löst Jimmy said...

I'm just in from my local, I've had too much Guinness, I'm unable to make a coherent comment. But you're right

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: you seem pretty coherent to me!

Fran said...

What is this 'off-side'?

Keith said...

Totally agree. On the ball, as always. And also a classic example of news eating itself.

Also - Wayne Rooney's 10 mill wage as the starting point for the discussion on BBC 4's Justice and the big society ( ??? )

And Tottenham's plans to DEMOLISH the new Olympic stadium and build a NEW new stadium ( ?????????? )

Football... Ha !

Keith said...

Ha ! I think I was commenting on yours as you were commenting on mine.

Shall we get a bike shed ?

Steve said...

Fran: I think's a naval term used by gay sailors.

Keith: absolutely. And an allotment and a couple of clay pipes and a jug of cider. Just to keep the cold at bay. Take a look at my marrows. Grand ain't they? These footballers... tch. Overpaid, oversexed and overtly stupid.

Diney said...

What annoys me about football is all the public funds that are used up on match days to police the herds of marauding fans. When in Fulham a few months ago we came out of Fulham Broadway tube station to be escorted by mounted police (stern faced and no wonder!) like sheep, as all the fans (from Wales, I think) had to be protected from the baying home fans, and we were in the wrong place at a very bad time.I had to plead with a mounted policeman to let us through the barricade so we could get to our hotel, in the opposite direction to where we were being escorted, in time to meet my son before he had to leave. That's what annoys me about football matches. An infringement of human rights, no less!! And the endless chat pre and post match - er, it's a game of football, not newsnight.

Steve said...

Diney: totally agree. Such vast sums of money and other resources sucked into a game that is already bloatd by money, governed by money and corrupted by money. The beautiful game? I don't think so!

Wylye Girl said...

Steve, you know well my feelings about 'the beautiful game'. When 'roasting' is seen as acceptable behaviour is it any wonder that the presenters and hangers on are such sexist, boorish, slimeballs. I have no idea who Andy Gray is, or Richard Keys for that matter, and I care even less. I'd sooner gouge my eyes out with spoons than watch Sky Sports. Good riddance to bad rubbish I say! I sued a former employer for sex discrimination and won convincingly. Bastard declared himself bankrupt before he paid me a penny

Owen said...

Personally I think the whole lot, footballers, fans, the stadiums, the sports reporters and tv stations etc etc ad nauseum should just be dumped in the deepest part of the ocean and forgotten. What a total waste. The world would be better off without this massive waste of money and these massively over paid gorillas. But what do I know...

Being Me said...

I don't have any right to comment, not really, as I haven't a clue what or who you're talking about (again! and yet still you remain the only blogger these days whose posts I never want to miss even if/when I feel dumber for having read them!). Still, I have gleaned enough to be able to confidently say: Dinosaurs, the pair of them. And good riddance.

Steve said...

Wylye Girl: bankrupt? What a snivelling sleaze ball! I would have been tempted to set a private detective onto him to prove otherwise.

Owen: totally agree except the ocean is polluted enough. I suggest a specially built and specially managed landfill site where their rotting remains could actually do some good for the world.

Being Me: absolutely. And the sooner these dinosaurs are extinct the better!

Mark said...

Football - diversion for the masses says Chomski. I agree; just don't watch, or care

joebloggs said...

Now now children lets not all pick on the football fans, there are those among us that welcome women into football. More women at the games, More women playing the game and More women officials please..... especially pretty ones with BIG TITS!

Steve said...

Mark: I never was one of the masses. I'm glad about that.

JoeBloggs: touche. Or maybe you'd prefer touche-feely?

The Sagittarian said...

We have our share of morons down here too, they lost their jobs as well. Good.

Steve said...

Amanda: they could all form a boy's club where they could look at lad's mags, make up stories about all the women they would have liked to have shagged and then have willy fights in the shower.

missbehaving said...

This mysogenistic crap is always called 'banter' it's bullshit and can't be tolerated. here here to your post!

Steve said...

MissBehaving: the only thing that gives me hope is that the big rumpus about it all proves that the times they are a-changing.