So, did Sky do the right thing by sacking Andy Gray? Personally, yes, I honestly think they did. But, because he was a completely sexist and masoginistic pig? No.
At the end of the day, football is predominantly a man's sport. It is played by men, it is watched by men. Most women, myself included, don't have a clue about it...and nope, I have no idea about the offside rule. I tried learning it once, but I got confused, I'm not afraid to admit that! But then, I've never really needed to know it!
Like most things, you are going to still get people (in this case "women") that you don't expect to, getting involved in the activity, which in this case is of course football. A small group of women play it, some women watch and as we have recently seen, woman have started taking a more active role, which on this occassion was as a Referee.
Perhaps quite rightly, men don't like this. We all know that a lot of men like having things that they can share with their other male friends, that women don't get involved with. It's like make up. Men don't get involved with the female make up rituals, so men like to keep women out of their football rituals too, and I imagine that is most definitely including on the pitch, in the form of a Referee.
And, I guarantee that roughly 80% of the men watching Andy Gray 100% agreed with everything that he said, and you can understand why. In fact, that 80% were probably already saying it themselves.
So, if practically every other football obsessed man in England is agreeing with him, does that make Sky wrong in their choice?
It's not really an issue of what was said, because yeah, I bet a lot of people were saying the same as Andy Gray, but the issue is more down to the fact that he was in a professional position, where he was being paid a very nice wage, and did not act in a professional manner. It's fine to say things in private, but not when you are working, and acting in the public image of the company that you're representing.
That I think is the point. Gray is representing the company that he works for, and in this instance, it was in a very negative way. If they hadn't done something (even if they had just disciplined him), it would have given off the impression that Sky agreed with him, and that would have potentially lost them a fair amount of customers.
Even though this whoel thing was about and during a football programme, Sky offer a much wider variety of sports, that are watched by women, and they couldn't afford to lose that amount of trust.
So, ultimately, is it about company image? Yes, to a degree, it most certainly is. Doctors get sacked for sleeping with their patients, whilst teachers lose their jobs for making porn videos.
In show business, however, we all know that negative press like this doesn't have to be the complete downfall of someone's career. Here are just a few people who have completely fallen from their Pedestal, but have bounced back, potentially even higher:
- Robert Downey Jnr - Drug Use - Now one of Hollywood's most respected Actors
- Hugh Grant - Prostitue charges - One of Britain's best loved actors
- Cheryl Cole - Punched a girl in night club toilets - Popular X-Factor Judge
- Piers Morgan - Infamously sacked as Editor of the Mirror newspaper - Just replaced Larry King on US television channel CNN!