Seeing Andy Gray and Richard Keys lose their jobs at Sky Sports, I can’t say I’m surprised. There probably aren’t many who are.
In the era that we live in—hyper-sensitivity heaped onto us by self-righteous, self-flagellating bloggers and Tweeters—there wasn’t much else Sky could do.
The internet has the power to turn public opinion in a matter of minutes. And changing minds back would be like fighting a staph infection…once it’s in the blood it’s very tough to get it out.
That said, as it involves two men who have been in broadcasting longer than I have, I’m stunned to see that the incidents happened. Because they involve a lesson I learned long before I ever got my first job on air:
DON’T SAY ANYTHING WHEN A MICROPHONE IS IN THE ROOM!
Canadian sportscasting icon Jim Van Horne told me that when I worked at TSN. Even if you think the mic is not on, someone can hear you, and it may be recorded. I was a newsroom monkey, and even I had to be conscious of it. Nothing is private with a microphone and camera in the room.
When I was about 22 I made a conscious decision to stop swearing in public situations. People giggled at me at slo-pitch when my limp pop-out to 3rd base was punctuated with a “Golly” instead of “G-dam”. But it had to be done because one inadvertent F-bomb can nuke your career.
Gray may have thought asking Charlotte Jackson to “tuck this in for me” was a joke between colleagues. And maybe Jackson thought it was funny. But we see now why you can’t ever say it. As men we all have asked “would you smash that?” to another man.
We work in a business with women so attractive you’d step over your own mother to smell their perfume. But as with the Ines Sainz/New York Jets debacle, my opinion remains constant—“boys will be boys, but men should be men.”
If I see another picture of green and gold scarves at Old Trafford, I’m going to lose it. And yes, that “Built by Shanks, broke by Yanks” banner was pretty funny. But the degree to which the creator missed the point makes me laugh even harder.
I’ve spent most of my adult life covering sports. And I’ve been fortunate/cursed to have developed very few loyalties to teams. So I don’t have a favorite soccer team as you do.
That said owners own clubs. It doesn’t matter if the money came from porn or how the ownership is structured or where the debt is placed. The owner owns the team.
In the end what they do with “your” team is not any of your business. It hurts when they take a once-proud team and cut it off at the knees. Or take our burgeoning club and stunt its growth with stupid choices. However, there isn’t much we can do about that.
Think of the pizza joint near your house. If the owner wants to make Meat Lovers’ the daily special on Friday, it’s his choice. It’s really stupid, but it’s his choice. If Malcolm Glazer wanted the cast of Glee—cheerleading AND show choir—to perform at halftime of every game at Old Trafford, it would be so. I would hate every second of it and it would happen. And if he wanted to finance it on an FA England credit card, so be it.
“He who pays the piper calls the tune.”
And in therein lies the answer to how you can fix “your” team.
Pick another team. Pick no team. Whatever. Just stop supporting an ownership that you hate. Every dollar you spend is another vote for the current leadership. So stop giving them your money.
No ticket, no shirt, no scarf.
If the Glazers were not experiencing record revenues at United this would have been over long ago. If Hicks & Gillett were not pulling in 43,000 to watch Fernando Torres limp-sprint to goal, their time balancing on that knife edge would have been much shorter.
You have a huge amount power to make changes at your favorite club. We are the people who helped make Tickle Me Elmo, the pointless iPad and those ugly Ed Hardy t-shirts all the rage. Our money did that. So stop paying.
Of course like in any election one vote doesn’t make much of a difference. But the change can’t be made without your vote. It would take thousands of like-minded people with the best interests of their favorite team in mind. The best part is, it doesn’t require any actual effort. It requires you to NOT do anything
Yes, there would be less attention from the TV cameras on the protest. But your statement would be much louder. The important people would actualy listen. If United was scared about people wearing those scarves when they went to Old Trafford, United would have confiscated all of them or ejected the fans wearing them. They didn’t, because money is money.
If you want control as fans, take it back. Piss and moan and pay is the definition of mixed messages.