If only Andy Gray were a Bullingdon Boy

Much beloved football commentator Andy Grey was fired last Monday over sexist remarks directed at lineswomen Sian Massey during Liverpool’s game against Wolves. Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Gray were recorded saying that “someone needs to go down thereand explain the offside rule to her.” Needless to say, such a flippant remark was greeted by a storm of media criticism. Frankly, their credulousness undermines the substantive work of all those involved in promoting women’s football, and generally reaffirms the misogynistic view of male exclusivity in the sport; a detrimental message, especially in light of Britain’s approaching Olympic Games.

As the ever wise Rio Ferdinand tweeted, there’s no room for these “Prehistoric” comments in the modern game. But he’s right of course, sexism is no laughing matter. But in all truth the majority of us knew this was pretty much the case. To Mr. Gray’s credit, it was assumed that the studio microphones were turned off, so however inexcusable harboring such beliefs may be, it was never his intention to course widespread offence. Everyone is entitled to his or her beliefs, however incredibly incorrect they may be … Actually, I should add that if you are a government official, where some degree of impartiality is required to administrate fairly, it would probably be best if you were not manifestly prejudiced in some form. Given the tentative political affiliation of this blog, readers may wonder why a post mooting the ethicality of Andy Gray has been published. Well it’s really about double standards.

Just three days before Gray made his comments, the Telegraph reported the case of Kate Lewis, who alleged that former Tory financial director and current government advisor Ian McIsaac “poisoned” her reputation, to the point of forcing her out of her job. He openly referred to her as “my other woman”, and told her that working mothers had no place in the City. Mrs. Lewis also claims that Lord Marland, the former Tory treasurer who was ennobled by David Cameron and appointed as an energy minister, made an inappropriate joke about maternity pay when she became pregnant.

Where was the public outrage here? I’m sure many people didn’t even know of the story. If Andy Gray and his stupidity merit page.1 of the Mirror, then it’s just ludicrous that an emanation of the government is not held to ransom in much the same way. The Equality Act (one of the last contributions of the Brown government) only took force in October 2010, yet it appears the next lot in office has already violated its authority. But this is not new ground for the Conservative party; I’m sure many will remember the words of party member Phillip Lardner who argued that homosexuality is “not normal”. Sadly, it appears to be crystal clear that people care more about the politics of sport than the politics of White Hall.

In some respects justice was done this week; thanks Gray’s prompt dismissal, no more will I be forced to hear the gargling undulations of a Scottish person feigning enthusiasm (I do genuinely believe I’ve listened to more of his annoying pre-recorded FIFA commentary than I have the wise words of my university lecturers). But if such a benign figure can cause what has proved to be a lot of hurt, I do worry for a government who perpetually let slip sound bites of antipathy like the bloated repugnant windbags they are. My fear is one day, these ruling elite, with all the power afforded to them by Parliamentary Sovereignty, will authoritatively act upon their prejudice.



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