Alex Scott has vowed that misogynistic remarks and online abuse won’t stop her from continuing her role as a football commentator as she feels it is her “responsibility to change perceptions”.
Scott, who retired in 2018 as England’s second-most capped player with 140 appearances, will be part of the BBC’s panel of pundits for the upcoming Women’s European Championships.
In an interview with the Radio Times, the 37-year-old described some of the abuse she has experienced, ranging from former Labour minister Digby Jones asking if someone could give her elocution lessons to online death threats.
“I’ve had so many tweets saying I should be at home ironing or cooking,” Scott said. “I don’t care about those, but sometimes people threaten my life and those have to be taken seriously. It’s my responsibility to change perceptions by sitting in that chair and talking about football.”
Scott said she told the BBC’s director of sport, Barbara Slater, that she “didn’t want to be taken off air because then who wins?”
Baron Jones, a retired crossbencher, faced backlash last summer after he criticised Scott’s commentary on the Olympics. “Enough! I can’t stand it any more! Competitors are NOT taking part, Alex, in the fencin, rowin, boxin, kayakin, weightliftin & swimmin,” he wrote.
In response, Scott tweeted: “I’m from a working-class family in east London, Poplar, Tower Hamlets and I am PROUD. Proud of the young girl who overcame obstacles, and proud of my accent! It’s me, it’s my journey, my grit.”
Scott replaced Dan Walker as the host of Football Focus last year but seems unlikely to become a mainstay on Match of the Day as Gary Lineker said the programme tries to book pundits with Premier League experience.
Scott believes it is “only a matter of time” until more women become regular commentators on men’s football.
“The overall level of women’s punditry is good and improving; it’s been a welcome decision,” she said. “But it’s difficult because on Match of the Day we generally have only players who’ve played in the Premier League. Given the popularity of women’s football in this country now, it’s only a matter of time before female presenters will be regular pundits on men’s football too.”