So what’s the furore over Sky Sports’ ousting of Andy Gray and Richard Keys resigning? Any man being sexist should be given his marching orders, and maybe receive coaching to raise his awareness, at least. But have you noticed the reactions, women, (such as Katie Hopkins, The Apprentice contestant), included? ‘We love Andy-it’ s only banter’ OR ‘too much feminism’. It’s clear that Sky Sport are ahead of, well, these men and women anyway- and intensely aware of its brand and its many women customers. And nice to see some consequences of the comments rather than the ‘wasn’t it private?’ because it wasn’t publicly stated. But this was built on the fact that the duo, Gray and Keys were already suffering waning support from football fans, as evidenced by the source of another Gray banter at Charlotte Jackson’s expense – and all hugely tweeted from two Sundays ago. With today’s Web 2.0, the previous controllers can’t control messages as they used to. Crowd-sourcing, the ultimate democracy, and very productive in this case, achieves this. You might be successful at sport coaching but look how far – and different – this is from life, career or business coaching.
Another ‘defence’ was, ‘What about freedom of speech?’ They need to learn that freedom of speech doesn’t come free. Boundaries and accountability are inherent.
Sky Sports did the right thing. And no, Katie Hopkins, Sky Sports hasn’t completely lost its sense of humour and neither have I nor any other protester. Sexist comments say a lot about the mind and the values of the people who make and condone them; that they see women as unequal to men, not to be taken seriously, worthy of ridicule. And sexist remarks, the thin end of the broader, ingrained misogyny wedge, are demeaning, undermining and can chip away steadily at the confidence of the women who hear them. And that is never a laughing matter.
So I don’t give a hoot whether someone was out to get Andy Gray. Why should we tolerate sexist comments when racist comments are usually frowned on in the workplace now? Taking a stand on sexism is the only way that misogynistic males will start to think twice about voicing what they really think of women. For Sky Sport to continue employing Gray would be an act of collusion – a sending of a clear message that they condone what he’s done and that his behaviour is worth his £1.7 million salary. And what further message does that give – particularly to women?
Incidentally, whatever male sport-employment networks now support Gray and Keys, I’m sure coaching could help them prepare for redundancy, retirement planning and managing stress post Sky!
I’m not a fan of Murdoch; I dislike his endless power-seeking and hubris. Clearly Sky Sports’ MD is ahead of him when it comes to sexism awareness (Guardian, 28 Jan) and I applaud the step they have taken. As women, we should remember: Sky is not the limit. Go challenge!
Winning Pathways Coaching offers coaching to women experiencing inequality or unfair treatment. Contact Claudia here, for more information on how coaching can enable you to overcome such barriers.