Back in 2011, then-Sky Sports anchors Richard Keys and Andy Gray were thrown into a controversy vortex when the veteran broadcasting duo were caught making off-handed, sexist comments about a female assistant referee, Sian Massey. Massey was poised to run the lines for a weekend match between Liverpool and Wolverhampton. The lads, however, had a few issues with that, seemingly because Massey has lady parts and probably loves tea parties and doilies and, therefore, couldn’t possibly understand the offside rule.
Here are some highlights of the pair in action, including the Massey exchange (at 0:45):
The Massey exchange includes the following lines of “banter”:
Keys: “Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her.”
Gray: “Can you believe that? A female linesman. Women don’t know the offside rule.”
Keys: “Of course they don’t. I can guarantee you there will be a big [call missed] today. [Liverpool manager] Kenny [Dalglish] will go potty. This isn’t the first time, is it? Didn’t we have one before?”
Gray: “Yeah. Wendy Toms or something like that, yeah.”
Keys: Did you hear charming [West Ham United director] Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Do me a favor, love.”
[Insert slow claps.]
It turns out the lads were right. There was a controversial offside call during the game. Yet, replay conclusively showed that Massey got the call spot on, despite her womanness.
Keys and Gray spent the days apologizing terribly and reacting to additional leaks — probably from colleagues who hated them — of more sexist drivel. Ultimately, the pair were forced to part ways with Sky.
One of the most memorable parts of the duo’s apology tour was Keys’ interview with BT Sport, where he characterized his sexist comments as “just a bit of banter.”
“A bit of banter” has since become a running gag.
Fast-forward to 2015.
FIFA has just re-elected Sepp Blatter as FIFA president for a fifth term. Keys and Gray have landed on their feet, scooped up by Al Jazeera/beIN Sports. The lad band is back together again, only this time, they’re based in Qatar. That’s right. The Qatar that’s hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
That, apparently, makes Keys an authority on migrant labor deaths in the build-up to the Qatar World Cup. If that makes you chuckle (not the deaths; Keys as an expert), you aren’t the only one. Enter the excellent Guardian scribe Marina Hyde.
And then Marina comes through with the closer:
Marina Hyde is a hero.