Richard Keys has found himself at the centre of a media frenzy this week as sexist comments made ‘off-air’ found their way into the public domain – and has spoken for the first time giving his side of the story.
Popular c0-commentator Andy Gray has already lost his job over comments made over Sian Massey, the female assistant referee that handled the Wolves v Liverpool game this past Saturday.
Keys & Gray were both taped making reference to their opinion on the adequacy of female referees, with Keys saying “someone better get down there and explain the offside rule to her”.
Today Keys chose to break his silence this afternoon to speak to UK radio station talkSport to break his silence on the issue.
Sounding sincere and tired Keys began his interview by clarifying;
“There’s a firestorm ragining out there, and it’s been very difficult to step into the middle of it – It was my idea to talk to you today, it was the best place to say the things I want to say”
Before there was even a question asked, Keys insisted that his apology happened before many papers had suggested – not after 5pm after the game as some tabloids had reported.
“I would like to reiterate what I said to Sian Massey on Sunday, during the second half – I rang on behalf of Andy and myself' and made it an official apology. We had some banter, I expressed my disappointment at mine and Andy misguidedly got it wrong, whilst trying to have a little fun” “and she left in good spirits”
During the interview Keys was keen to defend not just Sky, but football itself as he apologised unreservedly for his actions.
“Is football inherantly sexist? No. Is it full of people who enjoy a little bit of lad’s mag humour? Yes.” Keys continued “Sky is not inheriently sexist, Sky Sports is not inherently sexist, the Football department is not inherently sexist”
Keys also hinted that ‘higher-ups’ allowed the situation to escalate into what it has, saying ‘dark forces’ stopped his from getting' his side of the story out;
“There are some dark forces at work here. I asked whether we could make it clear that we’d had a conversation and we both felt it best to move on – I was told ‘No’.”
As for Massey herself, Keys pleaded with the press to give her privacy and get back to doing what she loves: saying “Leave her alone – ask yourself ‘Why are you doing this?'”
When asked whether he’s fit to do his job in light of Gray’s sacking, Keys sounded deflated – and gave a frank evaluation
“No, I suppose. That’s for someone else to decide. Do I want to carry on without him? That’s something I’ll have to answer myself”
Our ‘Prehistoric Banter’ is not acceptable in the modern world, I accept that – things changed, we didn’t”
Where do you stand on the debate?
Malicious sexism? Outdated humour? Or has something more sinister happened?
Let us know in the comments!