Andy Gray may have shown weaknesses for arrogance and vulgarity. He may scarcely have deserved £1.7m a year however good he was considered to be as Sky’s principal football pundit and analyst. But, asks Birflatt Boy, could questionable motives be at play in the broadcaster’s haste to throw the book at him? …
Andy Gray has been sacked after countless years of acting as the linchpin of Sky’s football coverage. There are a lot of people who seem as if they couldn’t care less about his dismissal, or are very pleased to see the back of him.
Even the most unpopular presenters were probably popular at some time. Gray has become increasingly arrogant in the eyes of many viewers who have also reached a state of boredom akin to rigor mortis with his diagrams and tactics board.
These viewers are not crying in their beer at his disappearance.
To many, it is just a relief that he is gone, regardless of whether his comments about Sian Massey were the reason for his dismissal. Interestingly in the wake of the news that he has been fired, more “evidence” of Gray’s improper conduct appear in the media.
This time it is an “off camera” comment to his co-presenter Charlotte Jackson. In the 12-second or so clip which has now reached YouTube, Gray pulls at his belt at the same time that Jackson is clipping on her microphone, and asks her if she will “tuck this down here” or words to similar effect.
What we do not see in this clip is any reaction from Jackson, nor do we see any preamble to this unguarded moment. Ms Jackson hasn’t made a complaint about her colleague’s comments and we have no idea what led to this incident (if anything).
There is some other background to events of course. Gray is at the centre of legal action against the News of the World (NOTW) for alleged phone tapping. NOTW is also owned by his (until recently) employer at Sky; one Rupert Murdoch. Is this all a coincidence?
Sky has also released other footage containing yet more comments about the assistant referee, Sian Massey with the Sky reporter Andy Burton.
This conversation contains a discussion about Massey’s appearance after Burton says the cameraman describes her as “a bit of a looker”. Burton wonders whether they should trust his judgement, to which Gray replies “Nah, I wouldn’t. I definitely wouldn’t.”
This “incident” has been released by Sky in the wake of Gray’s dismissal and Richard Keys’s apology to Massey, which she has reportedly accepted.
This has been cited as the latest example of Gray’s “unacceptable behaviour.” I doubt there’s a man alive that hasn’t had that same conversation with a work colleague or friend. That doesn’t make every man (or even just Andy Gray) a sexual predator. It’s just the way it is.
Maybe his comments about Sian Massey were inappropriate. Does this mean that a man deserves to be dismissed for what he said?
Sky broadcasts several live football matches each week, during which I will wager there will be several close up views of players clearly yelling “F*** off!” at the referee. Are these players yellow or red carded, or fined by their clubs, for this behaviour?
Of course not. Yet, who has committed the greatest offence. I’ve yet to see any comment from Sian Massey about these events, so I have no idea to the extent that she may have been offended if at all.
Sky seems desperate to unearth more dirt about Andy Gray.
I hold no brief for the man at all, but can’t help feeling that there may be other hands pulling the strings behind these events. If this latest example of “unacceptable behaviour” is the worst example at their disposal then they are desperate indeed.