The Massey, Keys, Gray Area of Sexism and English Football: EPL Talk Podcast

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On Wednesday, Richard Keys resigned from his position with Sky Sports, the latest chapters in the saga that started Sunday, when audio of sexist comments from Keys and broadcast partner Andy Gray was made public. With Gray having been terminated by Sky on Tuesday, Keys’ resignation marked the final piece in the demise of one of Premier League broadcasting’s prominent teams.

On this edition of the EPL Talk Podcast, co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer and myself discuss that week that’s been in the the Gray, Keys, Sian Massey affair, a week that’s put English football culture in the spotlight as one of the ugliest, least talked about aspects of the game received a new a pointed round of scrutiny. We talk about our reactions to the developments, the surreptitious nature of the initial recording, and the manner in which Sky handed the problem.

At the end of the show, Kartik and I shift our focus back to the pitch and talk about midweek wins from Manchester United, Aston Villa and Liverpool as well as the Carling Cup, where Arsenal and Birmingham City are on to Wembley.

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The Massey, Keys, Gray Area of Sexism and English Football: EPL Talk Podcast

EPL Talk Podcast Logo draft 300x242  The Massey, Keys, Gray Area of Sexism and English Football: EPL Talk PodcastOn Wednesday, Richard Keys resigned from his position with Sky Sports, the latest chapters in the saga that started Sunday, when audio of sexist comments from Keys and broadcast partner Andy Gray was made public. With Gray having been terminated by Sky on Tuesday, Keys’ resignation marked the final piece in the demise of one of Premier League broadcasting’s prominent teams.

On this edition of the EPL Talk Podcast, co-host Kartik Krishnaiyer and myself discuss that week that’s been in the the Gray, Keys, Sian Massey affair, a week that’s put English football culture in the spotlight as one of the ugliest, least talked about aspects of the game received a new a pointed round of scrutiny. We talk about our reactions to the developments, the surreptitious nature of the initial recording, and the manner in which Sky handed the problem.

At the end of the show, Kartik and I shift our focus back to the pitch and talk about midweek wins from Manchester United, Aston Villa and Liverpool as well as the Carling Cup, where Arsenal and Birmingham City are on to Wembley.

This entry was posted in General, Leagues: EPL. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Massey, Keys, Gray Area of Sexism and English Football: EPL Talk Podcast

  1. Patrick Runge says:

    Great show, guys. I did want to take exception with something Richard said about whether the “masculinity” of soccer in general, and the EPL in specific, would naturally lead to more sexist and misogynistic attitudes.

    Hogwash.

    Being tough, being strong, and being manly have nothing in common with viewing women as naturally inferior in any way. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Sexism is all about denying opportunities to people solely because of their gender. If someone is truly tough, truly strong, then they shouldn’t be afraid of competition from anyone, man or woman.

    It’s the coward, it’s the weakling, that hides behind sexism and prejudice to dismiss an entire gender (or entire race, or entire nationality, or an entire sexual orientation, depending on what prejudices are being utilized) by using the power society arbitrarily has bestowed upon you by being a member of a privileged group.

    Saying that it’s “manly” to be sexist, in any way, is nothing but a cop-out, an attempt to defend archaic privileges bestowed upon men throughout history. There’s nothing natural, there’s nothing manly, and there’s nothing strong about being sexist. All it does is demonstrate that you’re too stupid or too cowardly to treat women as equals.

    Thanks for a great show, guys, keep up the good work!

  2. BBC says:

    I know this whole issue was newsworthy, but I download the pod to hear discussions regarding soccer.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Bob, I understand where you’re coming from. The last 10-15 minutes of the show focused on the results from the mid-week matches as well as analysis of West Ham slipping up yesterday against Birmingham. But for Richard and Kartik to ignore the Gray/Keys story this week would have been a grave injustice to the majority of the listeners, I believe. It was the biggest soccer story worldwide this week and has huge ramifications on the way that the game is televised in the UK.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • BBC says:

        Who’s Bob? lol

        It’s just my opinion/feedback, but I would have preferred some previews of the FA Cup ties.

        Don’t care about this, don’t care about Tottenham moving to Spurs, maybe others do.

        • Richard Farley says:

          “Bob” :)

          I’ve started being more descriptive in my titles to give feed subscribers a better idea when undesired content is coming down that line. Appreciate the feedback, though. Like my gaffer said, we weren’t going to not do this show, particularly since (it was my sense) a lot of people who regularly listen were waiting to hear how Kartik and I would interpret this.

          But who knows: There might be a lot more people who feel the same as you, and we’ll be able to hear you and (possibly) adjust.

          • BBC says:

            Gotcha. Sounds like people did want to hear views, but it seems pretty obvious.

            If it was up to me, I’d have Kartik talk about Man City for the first half hour with you talking about the exact minute that they moved to 4-3-2-1 from a 4-4-1-1. . . and I didn’t mean to sound short, I was at work and was trying to be quick.

  3. summer says:

    Thanks for this show, Richard and Kartik. The more I hear about this story, the angrier I get. My excitement at seeing a female assistant ref in the Liverpool-Wolves game was quickly tempered by the relevation of Gray’s and Keys’s utterly ignorant and retrograde commentary. I agree with you that Sky’s reaction should have been swifter and more punitive. The need for an attitude change regarding sexism in the EPL relates not only to future generations of female soccer fans (like your future daughters) and professionals but also the current ones, including myself. I was truly inspired by Sian Massey’s presence and professionalism (it’s a hard enough job as it is without the added scrutiny of being a woman in a male-dominated field); I will be at Anfield next month for the first time and would love to publically recognize her as the role model she has become. Yes, women know the offside rule!

    I would also like to second Patrick’s comments. I am a devoted EPL follower (more so than any of my male friends, by far) and I see absolutely no contradiction between the aggressive physicality of the EPL and its appeal to women.

    • summer says:

      *revelation, that is.

      Again, great podcast and thanks for taking the time to cover this issue with such incisive analysis.

      • Richard Farley says:

        Thanks, Summer …

        And regarding the argument that the exaltation of masculine traits leads to sexist rhetoric, as I said on the show, I’m not sure how much I buy it. I think I don’t but then my mind drifts, and I try to put myself in the mindset of somebody apt to latch on to sexist rhetoric, apt to see undo preeminence in strength and “toughness,” and after I take a Silkwood shower I see how the former can lead to the latter in those who are apt to dwell in the dusty and decrepit corners we seek to avoid. And from that point of view, I see how casting a magnifying glass on “we’re so tough” and “a certain type of character” could disproportionately appeal to another certain type of character, a far more unsavory one.

        Or maybe I just need a hug.

        • summer says:

          I don’t doubt that the institutional sexism in professional soccer reinforces the mindsets of those dwelling in those dusty corners; a challenge to the status quo doesn’t happen overnight and professional soccer is, in every sense, a male-dominated field (the sexist ramblings of someone like Sepp Blatter certainly don’t help either). The shift will take time but it’s a particularly benighted leap from “strong, masculine, male” to “women have no place in this game.” That’s what was particularly disturbing about Gray’s and Keys’s comments: they weren’t just revealing their irrational discomfort with seeing a woman in a position they weren’t used to; the implication was that a woman participating in that capacity–officiating, playing a crucial role in the outcome of a game, not just pouring tea in a boardroom–was “unnatural,” unacceptable. This attitude cannot persist in an institution as popular as soccer. It will reflect poorly not just on the sport but on the values of the society so enamored with it.

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