Unless you’ve been on another planet you’ve heard by now of the shocking sexist rants by Sky Sports broadcasters Andy Gray and Richard Keyes. I'd rather not offend you gentle reader, with the specifics of what they spewed out. Suffice to say, they were overheard calling into question the suitability of female officials in soccer, and, eh, well that's about it I suppose. But it’s quite enough for me. And I'm happy to tell reassure you that they have now joined Britain’s lengthening dole queues.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm totally in favour of free speech. Absolutely. But not when it encourages hate towards non-white races, the Islamic religion, or the female gender. This kind of thing has to be stopped – and stopped now.
I long for a better-mannered and more innocent time. I played soccer and rugby for many years and I can tell you honestly, hand on heart, that during this time I never heard anything so vile as what Keyes and Gray spewed forth. In fact, while we engaged in the normal manly banter, whenever the subject of the fair sex came up a respectful hush fell over the dressing-room. The only terms I can remember were along the lines of ‘a splendid young lady’, ‘a fine mind’, while ‘virtuous’ was the most prized attribute of all.
And, unlike the thuggish Keyes and Gray, reference to female physical qualities were strictly eschewed. Ok, I did on occasion hear reference to some lady having ‘delicate hands’, but the look from the rest of the team quickly terminated this line of talk, I can assure you. Even the suggestion that one chap’s fiancée would ‘make a wonderful mother’ elicited a stony glare in response to what would have been perceived back then as an unwarranted personal intrusion.
Just like the ‘Reverend’ Martin Luther King, I too have a dream. A dream where the likes of Gray and Keyes have returned to their caves, never to emerge. But I want more. I want to see the curse of genderism banished from sport entirely.
First I want to see a slender female hunker down in Ireland’s front row beside Jerry Flannery for our next rugby international. Why not? Women now have their rightful place in hitherto ‘manly’ sports, and God knows, she’d hardly be much worse than Tony Buckley or John Hayes.
And why not have our own world ladies boxing champion Katy Taylor take on current World Heavyweight Champion David Haye for the Unisex World Boxing Championship (UWBC)? Imagine the excitement at that!
And why not take it beyond sport? And beyond gender? What about the pernicious ageism that blights everything we see, especially beauty contests? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and, as we’re told repeatedly, is ageless. And it reflects what’s inside, not the superficial and transient externals.
With that in mind I nominate my beloved Aunt Gemima for the next Miss World competition. If the judges could just free their minds from stereotypical sexism and ageism, she’d wow them as she sashayed down the catwalk – which would of course have been modified to accommodate her Zimmer frame.
These are just a few modest personal suggestions. I'm sure you could all come up with some more if only you could free your benighted minds.
And in conclusion, I’m told that Sky Sports plan to replace the two troglodytes with a female anchor. I fully endorse this appointment. Especially if she turns out to have big tits.