So Andy Gray has been sacked by Sky, Richard Keys remains just about in-tact though mounting pressure has left Sky in a difficult position following the revelations of the past week. Where does this leave Sian Massey?
‘Apparently, a female lino today, bit of a looker’
‘A female linesman? [...] No, I wouldn’t. I definitely wouldn’t... I can see her from here.’
‘What do women know about the offside rule?’
The conversation between Andy Burton and Gray ahead of Saturday’s match between Wolves and Liverpool.
‘The game’s gone mad. See charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Yeah. Do me a favour, love.’
Keys, on the newspaper column written by the West-Ham vice chair.
These comments and quips have not been blown out of proportion, they have been presented for what they are, and that is sexist. The term itself is flung about and used blandly to cover a number of sins, but the issue that’s most upsetting is the result of the media circus that has erupted around a qualified professional official who has done nothing but get on and do her job. Sian Massey has not uttered a word during the whole palaver, and unfortunately decided to step down from her match on Tuesday officiating for Crewe Alexandra and Bradford City. A completely unfair consequence which meant a highly-competent and experienced individual was not able to do carry out her employment duty as an assistant referee.
Even through the statements were captured when the men thought their mics were off, it’s a shame now that journalists are rummaging through old reels of footage, scavenging for quotes from any male presenter that has ever been in the limelight. There’s no need for the media to rub it in our faces that these kinds of remarks are made – we know already! But the fact that such an old-fashioned and shallow point of view is still prevalent within the sports world just shows how slow people adapt to change. On-air or off-air, it’s still an ideology that hinders a fair portrayal of women in today’s ‘modern’ society.
The fact that women have had to struggle for years to make it just about acceptable to have a female presence within a male dominated sport is bad enough, but why is it the norm to still be judged and talked about with all remarks based purely on gender?