Andy Gray Fired From Sky Sports for Sexual Harrassment
LONDON -- Sky Sports has taken swift action to dismiss longtime sports presenter Andy Gray after becoming aware of further evidence of “unacceptable and offensive” behavior.
The soccer pundit was already under suspension, alongside co-presenter Richard Keys, for a series of derogatory comments the pair made about a female assistant referee, Sian Massey, which were unwittingly recorded.
A Sunday newspaper published an off-air transcript of Gray and Keys in which they dismiss the use of female referees and say that women shouldn’t be able to referee soccer matches because they just “don’t understand the offside rule.”
Keys added: "Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her." Later the two agreed that having a woman as an assistant referee would cause conflict.
“I can guarantee you there'll be a big one [fight] today. [Liverpool manager Kenny [Dalglish] will go potty.”
Keys later said: "The game's gone mad. See charming Karren Brady [vice chair of Premier League club West Ham United] this morning complaining about sexism? Yeah. Do me a favor, love."
It is not known whether Keys will face further action.
Sky Sports said on Tuesday it had taken the decision to terminate Gray’s contract “in response to new evidence of unacceptable and offensive behavior” relating to an incident that occurred a month ago, but had only come to light in the last 24 hours.
"The new evidence, relating to an off-air incident that took place in December, 2010, came to light after Andy Gray had already been subjected to disciplinary action for his comments of 22 January, 2011.
The off-air footage is thought to show Gray making a sexually suggestive comment to colleague Charlotte Jackson while Keys is present.
“Andy Gray's contract has been terminated for unacceptable behavior,” said Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis. “After issuing a warning yesterday, we have no hesitation in taking this action after becoming aware of new information today.”
Here' the transcript of what Gray said:
As reported in the Mail on Sunday newspaper
Keys: “Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her [the female referee]”
Gray: “Can you believe that? A female linesman. Women don’t know the offside rule.”
Keys: “Course they don’t. I can guarantee you there will be a big one (row) today. Kenny (Dalglish, Liverpool Football Club manager) will go potty. This isn’t the first time, is it? Didn’t we have one before?”
Keys: “The game’s gone mad. Did you hear charming Karren Brady [Vice Chair of West Ham United, and Britain’s most senior woman in soccer] this morning complaining about sexism? Do me a favor, love.”