as I should be in the kitchen!
In all seriousness this has been a strange week. A week that has seen one of the largest names in football punditry sacked in part due to comments made off air and another resign for his part in the same incident.
Clearly this has immediately caused two factions - those who agree and support the decision and those who thing it is PC gone mad, that SKY overreacted to what was a joke between mates and Andy Gray has been the fall guy.
So here's my take on the whole sorry saga: -
Andy Gray and Richard Keys were bloody idiotic. By all means think what you like and even discuss what you like in private. But, when you're on work premises and wired up to work equipment you need to be circumspect about what you discuss and suggesting an assistant referee is not capable of making the correct decision because of her gender is not appropriate work discussion. Even more foolish perhaps because the decision by Sian Massey was, albeit controversial, totally correct. A decision which, incidentally, the commentators suggested she had got wrong until footage proved otherwise. So - for the incident in question - the only two people seemingly confused by the offside rule were Messrs Gray and Keys themselves.
It has been suggested that this was all banter - to be expected in the world of football. The Oxford English Dictionary defines banter in the following way: -
noun. the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks;
verb. exchange remarks in a good-humoured teasing way
This argument doesn't hold sway with me. This wasn't "banter" - Sian Massey was doing her job and derogatory remarks were addressed AT her, with no opportunity for her to respond. It wasn't good-humoured teasing. It was very much an "old boys' club" type remark and one which I fear is all too common in the world of sport. Many years ago I stood on the terraces at Headingley watching rugby league when a helpful fan decided he ought to explain the offside rule to me - resulting in much guffawing from my father at the idea that I didn't understand what I was seeing.
There has also been much comparison with Loose Women and for what it is worth I think Loose Women is a dreadful pile of tripe that has no business on our screens pedalling their vacuous and sometimes sexist nonsense. But, to use a dire cliche two wrongs certainly don't make a right and I cannot see how SKY's action should be vilified because Loose Women is still airing.
I am no shrinking violet and I can more than hold my own against a room full of male football supporters. I have a sports degree from a top university and I have worked in an industry arguably even more a male bastion than football. But behaviour of this nature has no place in football, indeed in any walk of life.
I am all for honesty - by all means criticise officials for their poor performance - I think as football and sports fans we have every right to do that. But do NOT suggest that a perceived poor performance is because the official in question is female.
I really hope Sian Massey can put this behind her and carry on doing her job. I also hope that the incident doesn't put young women off from being involved in football because that would be desperately sad and the repercussions of a few moments of misogynistic idiocy from Gray and Keys would be far more wide-reaching than anyone could have thought.