Keys lashes out at Sky as he finally falls on sword

Sexism row presenter quits after radio rant, while former colleague Gray is 'devastated'

Richard Keys last night resigned from Sky Sports over the sexism scandal, having given a no-holds-barred radio interview in which the once loyal company man, who has been the face of the broadcaster's football coverage for 20 years, turned on his employers.

Identifying "dark forces" as having prevented him from making public his apology to Sian Massey, the female referee's assistant, earlier in the week, Keys suggested that his own strategy for dealing with the sexist remarks made by him and colleague Andy Gray had differed radically from that of his bosses.

In a resignation statement last night Keys followed Gray out of Sky saying that working without his former colleague would have been "almost impossible". Gray, sacked on Tuesday after further video evidence of him making a lewd comment to presenter Charlotte Jackson had emerged, said yesterday that he was "devastated".

But it was Keys who made the most spectacular exit. In an interview on talkSport radio which lasted more than an hour he apologised unreservedly for his remarks about Massey and, in the light of subsequent video footage leaks, even suggested that he himself needed counselling. But he also went on to attack Sky's handling of the crisis and made digs at the likes of Rio Ferdinand and West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady for their criticism of him since the original scandal blew up in a Sunday newspaper. Asked whether he felt there was a conspiracy at Sky to force him out by the leaking of video footage, Keys said that he believed people were looking "even now" for evidence to damn him.

Keys' departure would cap a remarkable five days for Sky Sports, who lost the two faces of their coverage and now begin the search for a new presenting team to repair their once gleaming reputation as the undisputed home of live English football coverage.

It was Keys' attack on Sky earlier in the day that appeared to seal his fate. He was angry that, having called Massey to apologise on Sunday, just after the story first appeared, and having smoothed matters over with the 25-year-old PE teacher, whose ability to officiate he had called into question, he was then prevented from making that apology public.

"Now, there are some dark forces at work here," Keys said. "I, having done that [apologised], asked could we make people aware of the fact that we have had a conversation and that both parties felt it was best to move on. I was told 'No'. And 24 hours passed, by which time the world had gone mad. Now, I don't know why I was told no. I don't know why I was stopped from telling people that that's what I had done."

Video footage emerged on Tuesday night in which Keys made offensive comments about an unnamed woman. He said in the clip his fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp had "smashed it"– "it" being the woman and "smashed" Keys' word for sex. He also used the phrase "hanging out the back of it" – "it", again, being the woman. Keys suggested that he might require therapy.

"[The comments were] shocking, horrible, out of order, wrong, old-fashioned, no place [for them], behavioural problems that need to be attended to... yeah, reconstruction. Again, it's a very selective moment from that studio. Read into that what you will, it shouldn't have happened, it did. It's something I'm enormously upset about, not for myself... but to the far greater watching and listening public. That's wrong."

But Keys also made dramatic claims about others. He was outspoken on Ferdinand, the England captain, who had used his Twitter page to describe Keys and Gray's comments about Massey as "prehistoric". Keys said: "I noticed Rio Ferdinand tweeted and said 'Prehistoric banter, no place for it'. Rio, are you telling me it does not take place in the Manchester United dressing room? Because, my information says it does. Now that is not to say it's right."

On Brady, Keys said that she had used the storm to deflect attention from West Ham's failed attempt to replace their manager, Avram Grant, with Martin O'Neill. "A by-product of all of this, it took her and West Ham out of the press," Keys said. "Now she claimed that was because she is a woman. That is her view. It is not necessarily mine. It might be others do not share that either. She played that card, rightly or wrongly."

Keys' claim that the secret recording of him and Gray that began the whole scandal on Saturday was akin to the phone-hacking scandal haunting Sky Sports' parent company, News Corp, was the kind of career-suicide remark that would have gone down very badly within the Rupert Murdoch empire.

But there were also worrying signs that Keys had not learnt his lesson. On Gray's lewd comments to Jackson, Keys said "Charlotte can handle herself". He seemed more concerned that the unidentified individual who posted the clip on YouTube had spelt his name wrongly than what the clip said about sexual politics in the Sky Sports office.

Barney Francis, the managing director of Sky Sports, said: "It is disappointing that Richard's career at Sky should end in these circumstances. However, Richard recognises that his comments at the weekend were unacceptable and we note that he has made a full and public apology."

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?