Andy Gray is No. 1
Following a sport that is predominantly popular in a foreign land is like a window into a weird alternate dimension where nothing is as it seems.
Like, did you know that England just got Monday Night Football? They even use MNF to abbreviate it, just like in the good ol' U.S. of A. Judging by the soccer message boards I resort to reading when I am bored to the brink of crying at work, it has totally been a hit. Even if it sometimes seems like it's just the same 4 teams playing each other in different combinations over and over.
Somethings, however, are way too familiar. Like how certain aspects of European sports are still insanely racist. Scroll down to the England section and check out why Ron Atkinson got fired as a commentator in 20-fucking-04. Not to be all high and mighty, commentators say an awful lot of stupid shit and American sports are backwards and old-fashioned in plenty of ways. For example: college marching bands. What the hell? How did those make it past the 1930s? Also, way more importantly, many European countries are steadily introducing women referees into their biggest sports and that seems like a long way off over here.
Not that sexism doesn't exist in the bizarro universe. Andy Gray, who you may remember for repeating the same small batch of recorded comments a million fucking times in FIFA 2002, just got sacked for some idiotic sexist remarks he and co-host Richard Keys made to co-presenter Charlotte Jackson off the air. This comes days after being reprimanded for saying some less than stellar things about the said female officiating. It looked like they were initially just going to get suspended, but Sky Sports decided to terminate Gray's contract. Here are the remarks that brought the axe down on Gray.
The moral of this story? Maybe that sports on both sides of the Atlantic have a long way to go before there is anything approximating fair gender representation, which is definitely something they should try harder to make progress towards because millions and millions of people watch hours and hours of sports and it subconsciously effects the way people think. Or maybe if your job is solely based around talking on TV, then either don't be a misogynist or learn when your microphone is on and when it's off. Just stick to the vague platitudes about players wanting it bad enough or whatever and collect your paycheck. Could that possibly be that hard?