Alex Scott has become the latest high-profile black sport pundit to receive racist abuse after speculation the former footballer is going to become the new presenter of the BBC’s A Question of Sport.
Scott received the online messages after the Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted his approval of the former Arsenal and England full-back, calling her “smart, knowledgeable and perfectly qualified for the role”.
Lineker suggested Scott was joining the new-look show, although the BBC has not confirmed the appointment and said “no conversations have been had” about who will replace Sue Barker.
He tweeted: “Congratulations and good luck to @AlexScott on being the new host for Question Of Sport … If you have a problem with Alex getting the job, you might just be part of the problem.”
The derogatory comments that followed included some saying if she got the role it would be a box-ticking exercise, while others said the former footballer – who has regularly appeared on Match of the Day – had “no experience” but that “her colour gets her the job”.
In response, Scott posted a poem on Instagram that she wrote in 2018 about her career and her battle against racism. It read: “To the colour of my skin, I was that girl that played football, because I always wanted to win. I retired from football with medals and honours galore, I retired from football to open a new door.
“Now I talk about football live on your TV, some want to say I’m ticking a box, but that’s not me. Football is football and that is what I see. Hi, Hello, I’m Alex Scott and you know what, football is me.”
Scott is the latest black footballer turned pundit to receive racist abuse after speculation they were going to be awarded a prime presenting job.
The former Manchester City right-back, Micah Richards, was sent racist messages after it was suggested he and Scott might be part of a new panel to replace Matt Le Tissier, Charlie Nicholas and Phil Thompson on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday show.
Richards did eventually join Sky’s football coverage as a pundit but he was not part of the new-look Soccer Saturday lineup alongside Sue Smith, Clinton Morrison, Alan McInally and Glen Johnson.
Richards said the tweets he had received uncovered some “uncomfortable truths”, while the former Watford and AC Milan forward Luther Blissett said the assumption that Scott and Richards were responsible for the sacking of the Soccer Saturday presenters was “ludicrous”.
The former tennis star Sue Barker was axed earlier this week after 24 years presenting A Question of Sport. The programme’s team captains, Matt Dawson and Phil Tufnell, have also gone as part of the overhaul, which comes weeks after Tim Davie became the BBC’s director general.
Barker said that her time fronting the programme, which the BBC calls the the world’s longest-running TV sports quiz, had been a “dream job” but added that she understood “the BBC want to take the show in a new direction”.