It's hard to have much sympathy for Andy Gray and Richard Keys. They had dream jobs and were paid extravagant salaries for watching and talking about football.
Last weekend they engaged in a chauvinistic exchange about a Premiership assistant referee simply because she was a woman. Then we learned Andy Gray had directed lewd comments at his female co-presenter off camera several weeks before. Gray has now been fired and Keys effectively had to resign. Their 20-year reign as the leading football pundits in England is suddenly over.
However, there is something troubling about the affair. After the first footage, Sky gave Gray and Keys a warning.
Then someone in Sky leaked the footage, taken several weeks earlier, of Gray suggestively asking his co-presenter Charlotte Jackson to attach his microphone lead to his leg as the pair got ready before broadcasting. Sky announced Gray had been warned and they had "no hesitation" in summarily firing him. Keys then drifted into a state of abandoned no-man's land, like a lone striker caught offside, he simply stopped and resigned.
At this stage we don't know the full story ? but we know enough to say that something is seriously wrong within Sky itself. Firstly, it cannot be right to say Gray 's dismissal is fair simply because he was warned. His second offence occurred before the warning. Secondly, someone was very quick to release the clips to the media.
In both cases, the footage was not recorded for broadcast. It only exists because the cameras were on while the presenters were getting ready to broadcast. Someone clearly had it in for Gray and Keys ? yet, if that person was genuinely concerned, they don't appear to have raised these incidents internally. Why not?
Next, Gray and Keys have been at Sky for a long time. It's hard to believe that this type of carry on started up out of the blue. Producers and directors, not to mention many other staff, would have been present around them for decades.
So what does this say about Sky? Well, in any healthy organisation, this type of behaviour should be rooted out early and firmly, no matter how big the star or staff member. It doesn't matter if no complaint is made. Gray's comments to Jackson should have been immediately picked up on by the producer or director of that programme and action should have been taken. Every organisation has a duty to look out for the safety and wellbeing of all its employees. Inappropriate behaviour is wrong and should be tackled straightaway. Yet there does not appear to have been any serious investigation into these incidents. If the sources in Sky are right then how has this situation been allowed to continue?
On the other hand, if Keys is right, then the 'dark forces' must be powerful and have a serious agenda because Sky has just turfed out two of the best football pundits on TV. At the moment, it doesn't make sense but when it is analysed, it may well say more about Sky than it will about Gray or Keys.
Oisín Quinn is a Senior Counsel who specialises in Employment Law