Why is sexism still tolerated in football today?
While football has spent millions of pounds setting up campaigns to kick racism and homophobia out of the game, sexism continues to be tolerated.
Whether it’s sexism by mocking any female’s involvement in the sport, sexism by insulting a female official for making the CORRECT decision or half the nation still holding the prejudice view that football is a “man’s sport”.
Either way sexism is not acceptable and should not be endured.
It is almost two years since the sexist comments made by the male pundits Andy Gray and Richard Keys (below) were broadcast live to the nation.
For those of you that don’t remember the snide and pathetic comments made during a premier league game, I am about to remind you.
It was the 22nd January 2010 and Sian Massey (below) was running the line in a Premier League game between Wolves and Liverpool.
Keys and gray mocked Ms Massey, who correctly allowed Liverpool’s first goal to stand, despite Wolves claiming Raul Meireles was offside in the build up.
Keys began the abuse saying: “Somebody better get down there and explain the offside rule to her.” Gray then joined in, expressing his ancient prejudice views: “Can you believe that? A female linesman, women don’t know the offside rule”.
With almost every woman in the country offended, the low abuse continued when in a later exchange Keys added: “The games gone mad. Did you hear charming Karren Brady this morning complaining about sexism? Do me a favour love.”
With Andy Gray and Mr. Keys having offended Sian Massey, as well as the majority of the females in the nation, they continued to make matters worse by trying to deny their comments.
When Keys was confronted about the sexist remarks, he showed just how spineless he is, saying, “I have no recollection of that. I have no idea what you are talking about”
Gray then tried to defend himself, claiming he is not a sexist before continuing to say: “This was a private bit of banter released to the social media and for some reason the press tore us apart.”
So after both Keys and Grays did not have the backbone to express their views publicly, they tried to deny their comments. And to make matters even worse Mr Gray still doesn’t see what he’s done wrong. Hilarious.
I must say I did love it when Gray and Keys were both humiliated by a number of sporting heroes, who unlike them, are strong enough to broadcast their un-prejudiced views publicly.
Firstly, Manchester United and England international Rio Ferdinand took to twitter, he said: “I’m all for women refereeing in football, discrimination should not happen in our game at all… prehistoric views if you think otherwise”.
Then it was the turn of the females, firstly Kelly Dalglish – daughter of Liverpool Legend Kenny- who sarcastically tweeted: Phew, I’m exhausted. Just read about something called ‘the offside rule’, far too much for my tiny brain, must be damaged from nail polish fumes.”
It was then the turn of Karren Brady, who said: “ I just think its unfair, everyone is entitled to a personal opinion but what really upsets me is the fact that only females in our industry are judged by their gender and that is categorically wrong”.
She continued: “ I don’t think any of the comments were anything other than sexism. You know, ‘we’d better go down and tell her the offside rule’. I’m surprised they didn’t say ‘we’d better go down and tell her to put the kettle on’. It almost makes it worse that they were speaking when the microphones were not on because they have never really had the brass neck to say it publicly, they would only say it privately”.
Justice was done in the end, when Sky Sports made the correct decision and sacked both Andy Gray and Richard Keys from their roles, leaving them humiliated and rightly so.
Since then, the women’s game has improved rapidly; in 2011 The Women’s Super League was introduced to the female game. The WSL is a semi professional league for the top tier of women’s football in England; it is televised regularly on ESPN and is helping to promote women’s football as a whole.
Also, the success of the women’s football Team GB (below) was another chance for the public to endure the quality and flare the women’s team boosts, after their journey was broadcast on the BBC throughout the Olympic games.
However despite the constant increase in both popularity and quality in the game there is still no doubt that sexism still happens within the sport.
Some men are still to this day so prejudice that they believe women should have no involvement in football whatsoever.
Unfortunately, this view is shared with quite a range of males as men’s football is still far superior and women are still frowned upon for having any sort of passion for the sport they love.
The hardest thing to accept is the fact that society is rejecting previous prejudice views such as homophobia, but is still allowing sexism to continue.
For me the FA have got to step in and act by introducing an anti-sexism campaign – similar to that of the recent ‘kick racism out of football’ campaign to stop racism – it cannot be tolerated any more.
I understand it will take time – possibly generations – to eliminate every sexist person from the sport, but it needs to start somewhere.
It is simply no longer acceptable for males to portray their arrogant sexist views into society today. They need to wake up and realise humanity has moved on and that women’s football – whether playing it, watching it or officiating it – is now a worldwide trend.
By Mollie Bennett