Andy Gray, Sky Sports and citizen surveillance

Farewell Andy Gray, the former Scotland international with a penchant for dull jokes about women and the offside rule.

Gray has been sacked by Sky Sports after videos of him emerged on the Internet speaking off air: more than once, apparently, Gray had questioned assistant referee Sian Massey’s understanding of the offside rule.

After journalist James MacIntyre unearthed footage of Gray making a slightly off colour-joke today, the writing was on the wall for the former Everton star.

The reaction seems, so far, to be pretty unsympathetic. But one can’t help feeling queasy about the dismissal. Were Gray’s comments made on air? No. Has anyone at Sky Sports ever complained to human resources about Gray before? We haven’t been told. Will Richard Keys and others who took part in these conversations also be sacked? We’ll see.

But at the moment, Gray looks like a victim of Sky brand management. More worryingly, this adds to a culture where the internet has moved from a tool for popular free expression to a tool of citizen surveillance. Be careful what you say: it’ll probably end up on YouTube.