FIFA Commentator's Sexist Remarks Put EA Sports In A Pinch

Tuesday, Sky Sports sacked football commentator Andy Gray after his sexist disparagement of a female official made it into a pre-game broadcast. Gray still has a job, though: The voice of EA Sports' FIFA series since 1997.

Reached for comment, EA Sports had none on Gray's remarks specifically, nor whether the scandal would cost Gray his spot in the game. "We have not made any announcements about our in-game commentators for FIFA for 2011," a spokesman said. "Those announcements will be made later this year."

The situation is not without precedent: EA Sports stuck by Tiger Woods - although a sports figure of much greater eminence - through his sex scandal in 2010 and seemed not to suffer too much because of his indiscretions. 2K Sports also has gone down this road; Steve Phillips, an analyst in the MLB 2K series, was fired from ESPN in 2009 after a junior staff member went public with their affair. 2K, left without much alternative, kept Phillips in MLB 2K10, and he will be a part of MLB 2K11 as well. Phillips has moved on to work with Sirius XM Radio.

That said, Phillips is not as identified with his sport's broadcasts as Gray is with his; Gray was the voice of Sky's English Premier League coverage since the network began it in 1992. Gray also has done work for ESPN in its push to grow coverage of international football. His dismissal from Sky likely means the end of his career, and ESPN told The Guardian it has no plans to contract with him for future work.

In sports video games the sound catalog of commentary is an enormous asset, and re-recording a new commentator is extremely time intensive. Changes in the booth are made more for tone or design direction than real-world continuity. The FIFA video game's largest market is also North America, not the U.K., and it does brisk business in many nations that don't watch Sky Sports. Perhaps they'll hope this blows over and continue with Gray.