Andy Gray still an ugly symbol of our failure to grasp the importance of gender equality 0

People still aren’t getting this.

Andy Gray was on British television again yesterday to do co-commentary on Arsenal against Liverpool, and quite understandably that wasn’t received with much enthusiasm.

Amongst the predominantly negative views of Gray - and of BT Sport for employing him - there are growing numbers of apologists for the former Sky pundit and an increasingly audible belief that he has ‘served his time’ and that the anger towards him somehow represents the hysteria of political correctness.

It’s just not true.

The disrespectful comments about Sian Massey, the Charlotte Jackson incident, and the demeaning of Claire Tomlinson are just the examples of prejudicial behaviour which were caught on camera, does anybody really believe that those isolated moments represent the extent of this? Is it not more realistic to assume that they are a small part of a pattern of similar behaviour which stretched over more than a decade?

This isn’t someone who made a mistake, or who has been unjustly thrown to the wolves, he’s a relic of amateurism and of out-dated stereotypes who had been justifiably exiled.

I’ve made this point before, but how different would public perception be if Gray’s offences had been of a racial nature? Nobody would have any problem with him being consigned to the broadcasting dustbin and BT Sport would be universally - and rightly - vilified for retrieving him from it. As it stands, the message the broadcaster is sending is wholly unsatisfactory: “It’s only a bit of sexism, it’s not like he made a racial or homophobic slur’.

Prejudice isn’t weighted, it’s all the same.

Think about this: if a woman is about to enter a broadcasting career in sport, what is she supposed to believe about her new working environment if one of the industry-leading organisations continues to show such acceptance and forgiveness for a personality who is so obviously not fit for modern purpose?

That Andy Gray still has pockets of support is evidence in itself that he hasn’t been made enough of an example of, and that gender equality is still not something taken as seriously as it should be.

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