Sky’s the Limit

One of the great innovations brought by digital tv is the ability to pause a live broadcast if you have other things to do. Like answering the door or the phone, or feeding the dog.

Very handy, although I do feel a little guilty at making everyone else in the country drum their impatient fingers while I make a cup of tea, but that’s progress for you.

But have you noticed how it makes people look when they’re frozen in time? The freeze button always seems to choose the most unflattering expression and can make an attractive person look gruesome and the intelligent appear totally gormless, or both if they’re really lucky/unlucky enough to be handsome and bright.

It’s an interesting phenomenon and sums up that part of human nature that we means we make snap decisions about others based on very little information other than how they look and own personal prejudices. I guess it has its root in some genetic defence mechanism from our distant past when the ability to instantly tell the difference between cute and cuddly and snappy and dangerous was part of the process of natural selection.

I mention this because all the fuss about the sacking of Andy Gray from his role as pundit on Sky Sports for his sexist and inappropriate behaviour caught on camera. I haven’t heard so many upset, strident voices on the phone-in programmes for a long time, all talking over each other and no-one willing to listen.

Gray was publicly pilloried, accused of all sorts of crimes — sexist dinosaur, misogynist Neanderthal — by people (men and women) howling for him to be sacked. And all based on brief snippets of off-camera conversations and no personal knowledge of the man himself.

I’m not saying he isn’t any of these things — he’s old school football, so he probably is — but does that Sky should bow to the public clamour for him to be sacked as a pundit, especially as much of it came from people who don’t watch football on tv and base their opinions of the man on what the media tells them?

Sky’s decision to give him the boot might well have been taken to lessen the PR damage, although I can’t imagine footie fans cancelling their Sports One subscription or boycotting pubs showing their matches because they are offended by Gray’s crude blokish behaviour.

After all, wasn’t it Sky itself that released the damning material? And just about the time that Gray is taking legal action against another arm of the News International empire for alleged phone hacking. These two events couldn’t possibly be related. Could they?

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

2 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 26th January 2011

    Mmmm… you’re right, there might just possibly be a link. Mind you, I don’t really care. I don’t have Sky TV but when I have seen Jock Gray on it, I could hardly understand a word he said. The whole affair has created a lot of free publicity for Sky. Could that have been in their thinking too? I wouldn’t trust Murdoch or any of his minions as far as I could throw the blighters.

  • Mr Parrot 26th January 2011

    I always thought he was pretty good as pundits go, certainly better than those on MoTD. After writing this post, I read an article by a former colleague detailing what a cad Gray is as far as women are concerned, although I’m not sure how that affects him doing his job.

    It makes you wonder. No-one bats an eyelid about actors, models, pop stars etc and their convoluted love lives, but somehow the rules are different for tv pundits.

    Mind you, Gray’s £1.7 million a year will soften the blow and maybe Sky might lower their subscription prices on the savings.


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