DONCASTER Rovers Belles manager John Buckley feels the controversial off-air comments made by Sky Sports broadcasters Richard Keys and Andy Gray have been “blown a little bit out of proportion”.
Football host Keys and analyst Gray have become embroiled in a sexism row after the duo questioned whether female assistant referee Sian Massey understood the offside rule prior to the match between Wolves and Liverpool on Saturday.
Believing their microphones were switched off, the pair were recorded making a series of disparaging remarks about the official including “somebody better get down there and explain offside to her” and “women don’t know the offside rule”.
Ironically, Massey made a correct decision in the build up to Liverpool’s opener, scored by Spanish international Fernando Torres.
Buckley told The Star: “I don’t think there is an excuse for what they said.
“Male linesmen make mistakes every week and they don’t make quotes like that then. I’m disappointed but I think this could have been dealt with in house. I suppose this is what happens when you do anything wrong in this day and age.
“I think this has been blown a little bit out of proportion. We all make mistakes and sometimes say things that we shouldn’t.
“I think they will regret what they have done but I would not like to see them lose their jobs because they are good at what they do. I’m disappointed but I don’t think there has been a massive intent against women.”
However, Gray was sacked by Sky Sports yesterday after footage emerged of the presenter appearing to make an inappropriate remark to a female colleague.
Gray had his contract terminated following the release of the new footage, 24 hours after he and fellow presenter Richard Keys were disciplined for their remarks about Massey.
Sky Sports reporter Andy Burton was also disciplined after footage emerged of him and Gray commenting on Massey’s appearance.
The new footage, which was recorded last month but only came to light in the last 24 hours, appears to show Gray making a suggestive comment towards colleague Charlotte Jackson, who does not openly react while he and Keys then burst out laughing.
Managing director Barney Francis added: “Andy Gray’s contract had been terminated for unacceptable behaviour.”
Gray’s sacking was followed by an announcement from Professional Game Match Officials that they had withdrawn 25-year-old Massey from last night’s League Two match between Crewe and Bradford.