Exactly three years to the day since he was sacked by Sky Sports following a sexism storm, top pundit Andy Gray returns to British screens for the first time for a live FA Cup game on Saturday.
Gray was sacked by Sky back in 2011 for “unacceptable and offensive behaviour” after a series of videos were leaked to the press which depicted both he and Richard Keys partaking in some sexist exchanges.
The controversy erupted when a newspaper obtained a video of Keys and Gray – who were then the most famous presenting pair in British sport – making derogatory comments about referee’s assistant Sian Massey prior to a game between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool.
“Can you believe that?” Gray asked Keys in the infamous recording, which did not air but was leaked to the Mail on Sunday.
“Female linesman. Forget what I said – they probably don't know the offside rule … Why is there a female linesman? Somebody's f****d up big.”
After Gray was sacked, Keys subsequently resigned as well, and both men have since been working on talkSPORT as well as fronting Al Jazeera’s coverage of Premier League football in the Middle East.
However, Gray appears to have been forgiven and will sit in the gantry for BT Sport for their coverage of the FA Cup tie between Stevenage and Everton.
BT Sport said in a statement: “BT can confirm that Andy Gray will make a guest appearance for BT Sport at the FA Cup tie between Stevenage and Everton.
“Andy has a strong cup pedigree with Everton and we are delighted he can stand in for Michael Owen who is overseas this weekend.”
Gray’s big pal Keys said after his departure from Sky three years ago that “dark forces” were responsible for the pair’s dramatic downfall and he appeared to still be hurt by the events that transpired when tweeting this morning.
@craigrowie surely there's no one left who hasn't worked that out? We were set up as a distraction.
— Richard Keys (@richardajkeys) January 25, 2014
Predictably, Gray’s return sparked a mixed reaction amongst some internet users.
Journalist Anna Kessel questioned the mixed messages sent by the channel
Tottenham star Andros Townsend was happy to see Gray back.
— andros townsend (@andros_townsend) January 25, 2014
However, some other punters were rather unimpressed with BT Sport’s move.
Pretty shameless by BT Sport hiring Andy Gray. No matter how anodyne Michael Owen is, there should be no room 4 sexist pigs in broadcasting
— Adam Gray (@AdamGray1250) January 25, 2014