Sport Wales chair Laura McAllister thinks there is a "legitimisation of really bad behaviour" in football.
Former Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay is being investigated by the Football Association after admitting sending offensive texts.
Mackay says he is not racist, sexist, homophobic or anti-Semitic.
"It is depressing, but I don't think it surprised most of us who really know the game," McAllister said.
"There's always been a soft underbelly of pretty hideous behaviour around the game and that contrasts very, very strongly with a lot of other sports.
"Football is demonstrating some of the worst excesses of how a sport can become bloated and quite out of touch with all of the people who have naturally loved it, including myself.
"And I have to say I'm thoroughly depressed by the state of the game I grew up loving."
Mackay is alleged to have shared the texts with former Cardiff colleague Iain Moody, who quit his position as Crystal Palace sporting director shortly after the allegations came to light.
The League Managers' Association [LMA] issued a statement expressing Mackay's regret on Thursday, but came under fire for describing the offensive texts as "friendly banter".
The LMA's response was to apologise for that statement.
However, professor McAllister, a former Wales Women's international and a Cardiff City season-ticket holder, was disappointed with the LMA's initial response.
"With reference to the notion of banter, in very few other worlds - professional or otherwise - can people get away with the kind of behaviour and discriminatory language that is covered in this ridiculous catch-all sentence that the LMA, the League Managers Association included around banter," McAllister added.
"There seems to be a legitimisation of really bad behaviour under that heading in a sport like football which simply wouldn't be expected anywhere else in any other sport, never mind any other sector.
"There's also an issue of how football is run and I think that is reflected then in some of its behaviour.
"Football is run by a group of men; men of a certain generation who grew up in a world where those kind of statements were maybe not acceptable, but were more readily seen and heard.
"And they're still running football. We have an incredibly unbalanced game in terms of administration and governance."