Like us to subscribe
Inspired by Andy Gray and Richard Keys joining TalkSport radio, I am about to present a new theory of memtics that I believe to be vital to the understanding of the universe at large. The ramifications of said theory will touch the lives of humankind across the planet, and, I hope, provide meaning to billions of lives.
Abstract: Idiotic thought attracts idiotic thought, analogous to Sir Isaac Newton's theory of gravity, which deals with mass. We postulate the hypothesis of the Keys boson as a messenger particle as well as consider possibilities for the mathematical relationship between strength of idiocy and strength of attraction.
Evidence: We see in many cases that entities that have a high idiotic thought emissions rate have an impact on groups of prone listeners. These listeners then clump together in groups due to their own low-level emissions - as these groups reach a critical inertia, they then have an attractive effect on the 'prime' source, which modifies its behaviour in order to fall in line with the strongest groups. A model which seeks to explain this must allow for a messenger particle and a potentially non-linear relationship between attraction of different sources of moronism.
Mechanism: Idiotic thought may be transmitted via the Keys boson, which would travel at a rate between speed of light c and speed of sound in local medium v. Upon exposure to the Keys boson (K), which will doubtless be discovered at CERN in due course (if they 'smash it' properly), irrational and idiotic thought already in the brain is subject to a resonance effect depending on the 'flavour' of the K particle - racism, sexism, etc., and subsequently drawn towards (rather than away from) the source of K. The effect of K is amplified by average speed of all bosons from one source, possibly due to quantum entanglement.
Theorised Relationship: Newton's inverse square law fails to apply here - the impact K is not effectively weakened with distance - but there may be a higher-order relationship between sources of K (designated as Ki) and relative attraction. That is, thought inertia may not lie in a linear relationship with Keys bosons produced at any particular source. Attraction of k1 to k2 is therefore not necessarily equivalent to K1's relationship with K2. Further research will have to be conducted on this topic.
Bearing all of the above in mind, I think it's pretty clear why Gray and Keys are now on TalkSport.
Alas, neither Andy Gray nor Richard Keys remained unemployed for long following their dismissal from Sky Sports. TalkSport, a UK radio station with a fairly poor reputation, has picked up the two, presumably in their talking-about-football-not-women capacity, and I'm sure they'll form a strong partnership on the radio.
For those not in the know, Gray was fired from his job as a Sky Sports pundit following misogynistic comments towards assistant referee Sian Massey several weeks ago followed by further evidence of workplace misconduct. Keys resigned shortly thereafter after in similar circumstances, alleging 'dark forces' were attempting to bring him down.
Keys and Gray will host a three-hour weekday show for the radio station, who are calling their capture of the pair a 'sensational coup.' Programme director Moz Dee has claimed that the furore over their comments and behaviour has them changed men, and so there's be no problems at all with the hirings*. Admittedly, I'm not part of TalkSport's target demographic, so I can't really make a strong judgment here, but does this seem a bit of a stupid move. TalkSport: Sexism is ok by us, we suppose? Not exactly what I'd want affiliated with my brand.
It appears as if a week later Sian Massey cannot just move past the sexist comments made by Andy Gray and Richard Keys, even if she wants to. After being withdrawn from her assignment to a League Two match on Tuesday, Massey will supposed to return to officiating on Saturday for a Conference North match between Corby Town and Eastwood on Saturday. That return is being put on hold though after the Professional Game Match Officials group withdrew her from the assignment after speaking with Massey.
"The focus needs to be on the match not the officials," a PGMO spokesman said. "It would be unfair on the clubs."
Prior to a match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton last weekend, Gray and Keys said that Massey and other female referees could not possibly know the offside rule. Gray was later fired for his comments and Keys resigned.
When it was announced earlier in the week that Massey would be working the Corby Town and Eastwood match, Corby Town manager Graham Drury came out in support of Massey, saying:
"She stamps her authority on the game and she interacts with players well. We've got a top referee for this game. The sex of the person in the middle doesn't affect me. They've got big decisions to make and everyone makes mistakes. We've had Sian before and she had a fantastic game."
Corby reported a huge demand for television access when it was announced that Massey would referee this weekend match. Now that demand will likely shift to the next match Massey is assigned to.
As Sky Sports deals with the aftermath of the sexist comments made by Andy Gray and Richard Keys during last weekend's match betweenand , the target of those comments is set to return to officiating. Sian Massey will return to officiating for the first time since Gray and Keys comments on Saturday when she referees a Conference North match between Corby Town and Eastwood Town.
Massey was scheduled to officiate a League Two match on Tuesday, but stood down after the comments caused controversy and intense media scrutiny. Gray and Keys said that Massey didn't know the offside rule because she is a woman and the comments eventually led to Gray losing his job and Keys resigning.
Graham Drury, the Corby manager, told BBC Radio Northampton: "If they've dropped her to our level [because of the row], that's a shame. She stamps her authority on the game and she interacts with players well. We've got a top referee for this game. The sex of the person in the middle doesn't affect me. I don't mind whether it's a man, woman or even an elephant refereeing a game of mine – as long as they do it properly. We've had Sian before and she had a fantastic game."
With the news of Richard Keys' resignation, another ignominious section of the Sky Sports' crisis management manual is finished, a manual that every company with a significant public face should devour before adopting their media policies. Sky has reacted with fecklessness in the face of a call to action, something that has made the company the third, complicit man in the booth for Sunday's exchange regarding Sian Massey. When people serving as the public face of a company act reprehensibly, your continued association with them is cause to think the company reprehensible.
For two days after Andy Gray shared his wisdom, Sky allowed that link to persist, terminating him only after more footage emerged, footage that strengthened the link between the company and Gray's prejudice. Two sexist faces of our company not enough for you? Here, here's a third, one more concerned about whether Sian Massey's a looker than anything actually relevant to the coverage. Still, the Andy Burton tape gave Sky an out - the ability to argue Gray's surreptitiously recorded off-air comments were more than an isolated occurrence. Unfortunately, the perceived need for more evidence leaves the lasting implication that some sexism at Sky can be mildly tolerated. Again, another chapter of the crisis manual to study, for all the wrong reasons.
Less important but equally telling of Sky's approach: How Gray was handled affirms the impression public pressure, not the comments themselves, was the necessary condition in Gray's departure. One time? You don't get to do the Bolton match. Two times? Now we have sufficient cause, though you're no more of a lout today than you were on Sunday. Then, the lout was an acceptable image for our company. Now, people seem to be really upset.
Clearly Sky is not upset, else Richard Keys would have been fired Sunday. Or, he would have been dismissed Tuesday, with Gray. Or he would have been dismissed today, after an interview with TalkSport where he alluded to an eventual resignation, making befuddling allusions to conspiracies and "dark forces" undermining his position with the broadcaster.
Instead, Keys has been allowed to resign, a departure many will exalt as a virtuous conclusion to a loathsome struggle. Gray and Keys are gone, and with the perpetrators out, we can go about our footballing lives, the thought process would hold. The ends have been reached, and although they weren't brought about with any of the required decisiveness, perhaps the ends do justify the means.
Unfortunately, Sky's means of waiting for the process to define itself has cast the network as one of the perpetrators. No right-minded broadcaster would have done so little had their on-air talent been as brazenly insensitive. If for no other reason than to maintain credibility amongst viewers, the broadcaster should have suspended the duo when the comments became known, before a 12-hour incubation period led to a Monday morning uproar, an uproar which defined the story. The duo should have been terminated before kick-off at the Reebok or at least been prescribed sensitivity training with fines donated to the Sian Massey Institute of 'How About We Active Fix This, Instead Of Just Assuming It Will Go Away.'
But now with Keys gone to find Gray's pasture, Sky's lost their chance to distinguish themselves from the announcers they've lost, and in failing to do so, they've implied certain circumstances could make sexist rhetoric acceptable. Perhaps the comments were well-intended or good-natured (as if there is well-intended or good-natured sexism). Perhaps all's fair when you're not speaking into a mic a producer's identified as hot, nevermind if you're on company time. With Gray fired too late and Keys not fired at all, Sky tells us their attitude toward sexism exists in that realm. Their words might be bad. They be tolerable. Can we really afford to lose Andy and Richard?
Of course they could. The mere act of taking a decisive stand on sexism would have engendered huge amounts of support. The first broadcast without the duo would have built corresponding curiosity, while the quest for permanent replacements would have brought even more attention to their telecasts. And the bares reminding, these are telecasts that cover the English freakin' Premier League. I can't even imagine how poor the potential replacements would have to be to jeopardize that viewership.
Sky felt their announcers were worth protecting. At a minimum, they tried to let the controversy blow over. With Gray, the Burton tape made that impossible. Keys's resignation prevented Sky from retaining the duo's other half, and because Sky failed to take a clear stand with either, our perception of the broadcaster sees them standing in the middle of a non-existent netherworld between acceptable and actionable sexism.
As we will see in the coming days, Sky Sports' broadcasts will be around long after Keys and Gray depart. As such, the lasting legacy of this week may not be the fall of two icons; rather, it may be the broadcaster's complicity. If Sky fails to change a culture that allowed Keys and Gray to run unchecked - to promote a situation where anonymous sourcing was needed to complete the picture of the broadcast's atmosphere - then it's only a matter of time until this happens again. Sky will hire more high profile, proven talent that's deeply entrenched in the same footballing culture that produced Keys and Gray. And years from now I'll be able to copy and paste this piece into Google Docs, find and replace the proper nouns with the new perpetrators, and submit.
However, if Sky learns from this experience, views this as an indictment of their broadcast more than the unfortunate fall of their prized talent, we'll have our learning moment, giving us something positive from a confusing and disappointing week. But judging by Sky's actions, I doubt that moment's coming. There's a reason why Richard Keys was allowed to resign when he should have been fired three days ago. This isn't going to be the last problem we have with Sky.
Richard Keys has followed Andy Gray out of Sky Sports today, but unlike his former partner, Keys has chosen to leave of his own accord rather than simply being dumped by the sports network giant after a series of tapes featuring rather controversial - and undeniably sexist - comments from both men have come to light over the past few days. Although Keys had attempted to smooth things over with a rather baffling public apology, which included an attack on the 'dark forces' conspiring against him and a defence of his comments as mere laddish banter, he was as blundering today as he had been during the weekend, when off-air conversations between he and Gray revealed their beliefs that there was no way female official Sian Massey could be competent enough to work the lines during a match.
Both pundits had been suspended from live commentary for a match, missing Chelsea's 4-0 win over Bolton Wanderers on Monday, but their comments about Massey have now been revealed to be part of a wider series of incidents, which included Gray making suggestive remarks towards a female journalists and Keys repeatedly referring to a woman as an 'it'. Reports have also surfaced that the culture at Sky Sports was rife with bullying and sexism, and with a public relations disaster looming, there was little to do but give Gray the axe. Keys has chosen to leave the company before the blade fell on his neck as well. Either way, his reputation has taken a huge hit over the past few days.
Sky Sports pundit Andy Gray has already taken the hit for sexist remarks levelled at official Sian Massey during the Liverpool-Wolverhampton match over the weekend, and colleague Richard Keys may be next in line. Keys is smelling a conspiracy, however, and although he apologised for his behaviour in an interview this morning he also moved to defend his 'ironic banter' and made the claim that 'dark forces' were somehow conspiring against him. He might be right about the conspiracy angle of things, considering reports from the Guardian which indicate that the due were not exactly well-liked by their staff, one of whom anonymously said:
"There are many stories of their shocking behaviour. [Gray and Keys] are hated by the crews. It's a climate of fear pervading. But as long as everyone is laughing and it's a joke it's all right isn't it? I believe sexism is systemic and not openly challenged but goes underground or disguised as jokes or 'just banter'."
New footage has come to light which only paints Keys in a worse light - being caught referring to women as 'it' isn't going to do him any favours at all - and to be honest there wouldn't be much of a shock if the studio crew had decided that enough was enough regarding this sort of behaviour. Certainly, the leaked footage came from inside Sky, which rather lends credence to an internal conspiracy forcing Keys and Gray out.
Keys, who 'could not believe the frenzy that has blown up,' is talking about quitting of his own accord, and he might as well fall on his own sword before Sky gives the baffled man the axe. It comes as no surprise to anybody that Keys isn't aware that perpetrating a culture of bullying, sexism, and demeaning lad humour in a workplace is something that might be considered wrong in any way - he's busy apologising for individual comments (he had some good banter with Sian Massey later, he claimed, which makes it all better I suppose) and not the whole being a loud mysogynist bit. In other words, he doesn't get it.
So, if a group of nasty little insiders are the ones who're fixing this... good conspirating, conspirators. Well done.
Andy Gray's termination from Sky Sports may be end this week's controversy surrounding the sexist remarks made by one of the game's most high profile pundits, which would be a shame, according to We Ain't Got No History's Graham MacAree. While Graham has been part of SB Nation Soccer's coverage of Sky Sports' decision, he has also been opining at our Chelsea community blog, pointing out that while the manner in which Gray's thoughts became available is suspect, that ill could be far outweighed by the benefits that've followed:
Sky Sports was one day too late in firing Andy Gray. That Richard Keys still has a job hints that a certain level of sexism (one incident, surreptitiously exposed) is acceptable, ironic considering Sky used the term "unacceptable" when describing their views. And unfortunately, as Graham points out, the retaining of Keys may be but a footnote in the list of unacceptable aspects of English football culture implicitly highlighted by this incident.
It's a state of affairs Graham has no tolerance for, even if the Gray-Keys affair creates an opportunity to unveil the ills a "[f*cking] stupid" football culture. Vitriolic and with no taste for word-parsing, Graham lets loose his frustrations in a must read at We Ain't Got No History, SB Nation's Chelsea community blog.
Andy Gray has lost his job over sexist comments towards Sian Massey during Liverpool's 3-0 defeat of Wolverhampton at Molineux this weekend. Although he was merely suspended for his tirade over the presence of a woman on the touchline, which featured the veteran commentator (off-air at the time) complaining stridently to Richard Keys that women couldn't possibly know the offside rule, let alone enforce it, Sky Sports were compelled to launch an investigation into his behaviour. The results were, unsurprisingly, hardly pleasant, and he's now been sacked after "new evidence of unacceptable and offensive behaviour" have come to light.
Gray was a mainstay of a culture of institutionalised homophobia/racism/sexism/anti-intellectualism that permeates football's old guard, so, again, it's not particularly surprising that there was more nastiness to be found under the hood. Many will dismiss his comments to Keys (and to reporter Andy Burton, whose leaked conversation with Gray has gotten him a telling off from Sky as well) as mere macho banter, which rather misses the fact that Gray sounded deadly serious about these views in the recordings.
Ultimately, this is a good thing for football. While we may disagree about how this came to light - leaking private conversations is a deeply, deeply awful thing to do - it's about time the culture of English football was exposed for what it is: A fetid, stinking, prejudiced mess.
Gray was the first to be shown the door. Hopefully, he won't be the last, as pressure is put on the powers that be to replace the doddering old men of football with people who've managed to move past the middle of the 20th century.
Meanwhile, Ms. Massey has been withdrawn from officiating the League Two game tonight between Crewe Alexandria and Bradford Town. No reason has been given for the withdrawal by the FA, but presumably they're trying to keep the media spotlight off Massey while the fallout continues to hit Sky.
Sky Sports will leave out presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys for today's Premier League match featuring Chelsea's trip to Bolton after the two were heard making sexist remarks. The remarks in question which were caught on tape by the Mail on Sunday concerned West Ham's vice-chair Karren Brady and Premier League official Sian Massey who featured as lineswoman in Saturday's early match between Wolves and Liverpool.
Regarding Massey, whose performance was flawless on Saturday, Keys and Gray agreed that "females don't know the offside rule", while Keys added in assumption that Massey would commit a huge error by stating:
"I can guarantee you there'll be a big one today. [Liverpool manager] Kenny [Dalglish] will go potty".
Keys then made additional remarks regarding some earlier Karren Brady comments concerning sexism in football where Keys stated:
"See charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Yeah. Do me a favour, love".
Brady herself was quoted as saying the remarks made her "blood boil" and as found on the Guardian, stated the following in full:
"Forget myself for a second, because what was said about me is a personal opinion and everyone is entitled to that. What really upsets me is the fact only females in our industry are judged by their gender. And that is categorically wrong".
To further her distaste with the remarks made by Gray and Keys, Brady spoke candidly on BBC's Five Live on Sunday:
"I'm genuinely disappointed. It never would have occurred to me that they had those views, whether public or private. It almost makes it worse that they're speaking when the microphones are not on as opposed to when they are on, because [they have] never really had the brass neck to say it publicly, they would only say it privately. I have heard it and I don't believe it is just banter".
While the Internet is currently awash with the story regarding Gray and Keys, an official statement from Sky Sports on the matter is expected soon. As noted, however, tonight's Premier League broadcast will go on without the services of Andy Gray or Richard Keys.
We'll email you a reset link.
If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.
You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.
You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.
Choose an available username to complete sign up.
In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.