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Keys & Gray suspended by Sky Sports

Mon 24th Jan 2011 | Television & Broadcasting

The sexist comments made by Sky Sports presenters, Richard Keys and Andy Gray about assistant referee Sian Massey has seen the pair being suspended for tonight’s live televised game and could face further action.

The Sky Sports managing director, Barney Francis, told the Guardian newspaper. "It has been made clear to each of them that their comments were totally unacceptable.”

Francis added: "We have dealt with this matter by taking immediate disciplinary action. As with any employee it would not be right to go into detail on those proceedings. However, they have been clearly warned about their behaviour and reminded of their responsibilities."

Jen O’Neill, Editor of the girls’ and women’s football website SheKicks.net said; “It's testament to the outrage generated by these overheard sexist slurs, from the average football watching fan (be they male or female), that SKY have felt compelled to suspend both Keys and Gray from tonight's game.

“They should lose their jobs.” She added.

“How can a prejudice based on gender be any worse than a prejudice based on race, religion, disability, nationality, sexuality?

“The sad thing is that this is simply highlighting that many in the UK, still have outmoded views and not just when it comes to sport and football.

“Women have been officiating top level men's games on many other continents, including mainland Europe for years."

Speaking of the prejudice in the game O'Neill continued; “Karren Brady, and other women in various positions in football have either simply accepted or been fighting prejudice within football for many years. Yet, in this case and on the simple but influential evidence of Miss Massey's two Premier League games so far, no one can doubt her competency in the role.

“Actions clearly speak louder than words. Let's hope that SKY - if they are serious about distancing their channel's views from those of their bigoted presenters, of sending a message condemning such sexist attitudes in modern society - realise that too.”

The sports minister, Hugh Robertson, also criticised the pair saying; "It is very disappointing to hear these comments at a time when we are trying to get more women participating and officiating in sport, particularly football," he said.

Both Keys and Gray have fronted Sky Sports football coverage for almost two decades will now have to wait to find out what further punishment they face by the broadcaster.

 

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