let me guess, it'll be a bird, a black person, and a LGBT representative to replace them, not necessarily because they are the best people for it, but so they can tick their boxes.
— Will (@braddersrfc10) August 26, 2020
Last week, Sky Sports announced they would be parting ways with the long-standing Soccer Saturday pundits, Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas. The trio who have nearly 50 years of work with Sky between them, were let go.
Bizarrely and perhaps the sign of the times, minutes after those headlines broke, former England and Arsenal footballer, Alex Scott was trending on Twitter. The consensus amongst several fans appeared to suggest Scott would be next in line for the job, not because of her outstanding credentials but instead as a ‘diversity move’ and to ‘tick the boxes’.
No Sky representatives nor Scott herself had suggested that she would be a POTENTIAL replacement. Scott was trending purely from the fact that three white male pundits lost their jobs – quite telling.
Let’s get this straight.
Alex Scott is one of the best pundits out there, male or female. She is clear, concise, does her research and clearly knows her stuff. Those who criticise Scott and claim she is there to ‘tick the boxes’ just can’t bring themselves to accept that a Black woman knows more about football than them.
Scott is a trailblazer. She is at an immediate disadvantage every time she is on air as she is changing the face of a male-dominated broadcast industry. Just like many pundits, she has all the football credentials. 140 caps for England, 7 FA Cups, 6 League Titles, 1 Champions League and that is just scratching the surface with regards to her honours in the sport.
So, @AlexScott is trending? *Rolls up sleeves*
140 caps ✅
7 FA Cups ✅
6 league titles ✅
1 @UWCL Cup (scored the winner) ✅
1 fantastic pundit ✅
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) August 26, 2020
Does that make Scott a good pundit? No. We have seen plenty of footballers with world-class credentials make awful pundits and vice-versa. Unable to analyse a game, offering generic insight and incapable of articulating themselves in a coherent manner.
Scott on the other hand not only has a degree in media but is able to offer insightful analysis clearly and coherently. Yet because she is a Black woman, people instinctively feel like she doesn't deserve her seat at the table. Should Scott be offered the job it will be because she is an excellent pundit who does her research, not because she is a woman, not because she is Black.
Former Arsenal striker and fellow pundit Ian Wright jumped to Scott’s defence in a passionate video her shared on Twitter. Wright spoke about the "racially driven" abuse of black and female pundits.
Wright said: "The racism is going through the roof today. Can somebody just answer me this: What does Micah Richards, Alex Scott, Sol Campbell, Clinton Morrison, or any other black pundit have to do with Sky's decision to get rid of these guys?
"All because three middle-aged white guys have got the sack. I kiss my teeth, say raasclaat and all that sort of stuff. What have they done, what have these guys done?
"Because a black person or a woman might get the opportunity to do this job. They might get a chance to do this show. Why are people upset?"
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) August 26, 2020
Le Tissier, Thompson and Nicholas were great servants for Sky and have rightly received tributes for their services. However, after years of analysing games there is only so much insight you can give before it gets repetitive. Everyone sees the game differently and Sky have recognised the need to bring in new football people with different perspectives and ideas.
Should Alex Scott get a new role with Sky it will not be because she’s Black and a woman, but instead because she is a top-class pundit.
Gets a WhatsApp from a friend:.. Alex your Trending on twitter...
Me: Is it to do with football?
Me: ? Here we go ? pic.twitter.com/Y0ZuhsDwkF
— Alex Scott MBE (@AlexScott) August 26, 2020