English Premiership

Keys quits over sexism furore

2011-01-27 09:48
Richard Keys (File)
London - Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys resigned on Wednesday in the aftermath of the sexism scandal that led to his colleague Andy Gray being sacked 24 hours earlier.

VIDEO: Richard Keys and Andy Gray sexism comment

In an off-the-air conversation between Keys and Gray, both men disparaged lineswoman Sian Massey ahead of last Saturday's Premier League match between Wolves and Liverpool, saying she was unlikely to know the offside rule.

Keys telephoned Massey to say sorry for the comments, but he felt undermined by Sky's initial refusal to let him make that apology public.

And with further footage of Keys asking lewd questions about Sky pundit Jamie Redknapp's relationship with a former girlfriend released on Wednesday, the veteran broadcaster conceded his highly-paid role was now untenable.

After questioning Redknapp about the unnamed girl, Keys says: "Mind you, that is a stupid question, if you were anywhere near it. You definitely smashed it.

"You could go round there any night and found Redknapp hanging out of the back of it."

Keys, who had earlier claimed that "dark forces" were working to get him out, said in a statement released by Sky Sports: "I am deeply sorry for my remarks and the offence they have caused; it was wrong and should not have happened.

"I have thought long and hard and reached the decision that it is time to move on. Going forward without Andy would have been almost impossible.

"I am and will remain proud of our work with football at Sky Sports and grateful to the many people who have worked with me. I wish Sky Sports continued success in the future."

Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports, said: "It is disappointing that Richard's career at Sky should end in these circumstances. However, Richard recognises that his comments at the weekend were unacceptable and we note that he has made a full and public apology.

"We thank him for his time in helping make Sky Sports the success it is today."

Former Scotland and Everton striker Gray, reportedly paid 1.7 million pounds a year for his job, said in a statement Wednesday he was "devastated" by his sacking.

Footage was leaked of Gray making comments about Massey in a separate pre-match discussion with a Sky reporter, who was disciplined for claiming he had been told she was a "bit of a looker".

Gray's sacking was also the result of a similar incident in December over a lewd comment made to Sky Sports News presenter Charlotte Jackson.

Referring to his microphone, he held his trousers and said: "Charlotte, can you tuck this down here for me?"

Along with Gray, Keys had been the face of Sky Sports' coverage of the Premier League since the company bought the rights to televise English football's top division in 1992.

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