Sky Sports Anchor Richard Keys Apologizes for Offensive Off-Air Comments
LONDON -- Sky Sports anchor Richard Keys issued an emotional and groveling apology for his chauvinistic behavior Wednesday as more footage was leaked of showing him making aggressive sexual jibes and comments off-air.
Keys is fighting to hold onto his job after his co-presenter Andy Gray was fired by Sky Sports on Tuesday for what the broadcaster deemed "unacceptable and offensive behavior."
Both men had already been put on suspension after being recorded ridiculing Sian Massey, a 25-year old female assistant referee, for attempting to break into a traditionally male game.
Gray was summarily dismissed following the anonymous release of further footage of an incident that is understood to have happened last year, showing him unloosening his trousers and gesturing to fellow anchor Charlotte Jackson, saying (as she was preparing to go to a live link) "Charlotte, just tuck this in for me love," apparently referring to his microphone pack.
The footage of Keys – also posted anonymously on YouTube - is arguably more ugly.
Seated alongside former Premier League soccer players Ruud Gullit, Graeme Souness and Jamie Redknapp, Keys is heard discussing one of Redknapp's former girlfriends.
Describing the woman repeatedly as "it" Keys asks Redknapp if he "smashed it" and goes on to say: "Mind you, that's a stupid question, if you were anywhere near it, you definitely smashed it. You could have gone round there any night and found Redknapp hanging out the back of it," he is seen saying.
In an interview on TalkSport Radio before the second video emerged, Keys said he apologized unreservedly for comments that he said he knew were "wrong."
Asked by the interviewer: "Do you honestly believe that a woman employed by the Football Authority wouldn't be up to the job?" Keys replied: "No – of course not. It was ironic, I know what you are saying but of course it was part of a much wider debate everyone on the day was having, and in dressing rooms and pubs."
He said he had apologized to Massey personally on Sunday afternoon, after the first story broke in the Mail on Sunday but had not been allowed by Sky Sports to make the apology public.
"Are we defending what we said and did? No? We were wrong. Now, there are some dark forces at work here," he added, saying he had not been able to speak publicly for 24 hours, after which "the world had gone mad."
While Keys was on air, Andy Gray also apologized.
"I am very sorry that certain comments made by me have caused offence. Such comments were made off-air to work colleagues, and were of course never intended to be broadcast," he said, adding: "Football is my life and I am devastated by losing the job that I love."
The succession of leaked videos, which appear to have emanated from someone within Sky Sports, were posted on the YouTube site from an account in the name of stevesimons409. The account has since been closed.
Sky Sports declined comment.