So Sky Sports clearly want the Richard Keys and Andy Gray drama to disappear quickly, hence their sacking of Gray yesterday. However judging by the front cover of the Mirror today and YouTube last night, the saga is going to grow and grow. Good work Sky! I have a better solution that I’ve been discussing with male and female colleagues and it seems to resolve everyone’s issues.
Firstly let me just say I totally disagree with Messers Keys & Grays comments and think that Women play an important role in Sport including football. In Rugby we already full embrace Women in the game with England flanker Maggie Alphonsi becoming the first woman in the 50-year history of the Rugby Union Writers’ Club to be honoured with the prestigious Pat Marshall Memorial Award as personality of the year 2010. Women’s Internationals are often now played Twickenham after the Senior Men’s game to encourage more support. I also found this great article from Bath Rugby’s David Flatman that shows the admiration from Male professionals for these female athletes.
However back to Football and Sky Sports. In my view they have made a bad situation worse. Gray and Keys are well loved by the football public in the UK and a lot of them will feel aggrieved by Gray’s sacking. I’ve even read that some numpties are leaving abusive voicemails on Sian Massey’s phones. Its clear that their views similar to the majority of footballers and football fans in the country which is sad.
So what should they have done? Simple really. Both presenters should have been suspended from all live broadcasts for at least a month. Instead they should have been made to work on a series of stories on Women in Football; from girls playing at school up through the senior leagues, referees and businesswomen. This series could also involve Gray & Keys getting involved with training on and off the pitch and would show just how good women are in the sport. Then by airing the video clips via the Social Web and during Sky Sports live broadcasts, Gray & Keys can be made to look silly and show the public that their caveman views were wrong. And by reaching a wide audience these “new views” could be picked up by the average football fan sat on his sofa which could slowly drive sexism out of football.
The PR disaster would be dissolved and Sky would be seen to be changing opinions in a positive way. Shame that Sky didn’t haven’t a good PR Disaster recovery agency to advise them..