Alex Scott speaks out on her ongoing experience of social media abuse

‘I’ve been at the forefront and I’m taking all the hits’: Alex Scott speaks out on her ongoing experience of social media abuse after she was tipped to replace Sue Barker on A Question of Sport

Alex Scott has opened up about her experiences of social media abuse since her career moved from professional footballer to pundit.

Speaking on a new episode of the Between The Lines podcast, the former Arsenal defender said she feels she’s ‘taking all the hits’ but pushes forward to try and help others following her career path.

Alex, 34, also admitted the abuse has only intensified after she hit the headlines earlier this month amid reports she will replace Sue Barker on the quiz show A Question of Sport.  

Speaking out: Alex Scott has opened up about her experiences of social media abuse since her career moved from professional footballer to pundit

The new episode of the Between The Lines podcast explores the way in which hate speech on social media platforms has permeated football across all levels of the game, with Alex admitting she’s noticed it more since moving from player to pundit.

‘Before, when I used to see all the messages, I’d be like ‘oh my gosh, I can’t take this, I’m talking about something that I love, I don’t get it’.’

‘For me, it’s just reminding myself with that sometimes that I know I’m helping create this change and there’s a bigger picture that I need to keep my head down and keep focused and keep working towards,’ she explained.

‘I think, because I spoke out about it before, I went through a stage where it really did affect me. Some of the comments… I knew I couldn’t tell my mum because then she’d be worrying, and I was taking all this negativity on to myself.’

Tough: Speaking on a new episode of the Between The Lines podcast, the former Arsenal defender said she feels she’s ‘taking all the hits’ but pushes forward to try and help others following her career path

‘I kind of lost myself and my personality because I knew everything that was going on around it. It’s not until I actually got to a stage where I thought ‘I can’t take this anymore, it is becoming too much for me’ that I spoke out about it.’ 

Alex referenced the recent talk about her rumoured new role on Question of Sport, admitting:  

‘What I’ve done now is that when I’m going through those times, I do, I say to people – I think we’ve just seen recently that I’ve gone through it again with everything that just happened – but I know it is changing.’

‘People know that we are ready for change in this country, and in other countries too actually, all around the world. I’ve been at the forefront and I’m taking all the hit, but like I said, I remind myself that I’m doing it for a positive reason – there’s others coming through.’

Online abuse: Alex admitted the abuse has only intensified after she hit the headlines earlier this month amid reports she will replace Sue Barker on the quiz show A Question of Sport

Later in the interview, Alex went on to outline how, as a woman of colour working in football, there is more pressure on her to perform in her punditry roles, with the spotlight on any mistakes being more intense.

‘In the field that we’re in, we know if we do one mistake or we say one name that’s wrong, it’s going to be scrutinised. I think for me, I’m never in competition with anybody else, I’m in competition with myself.’

‘I always want to be the best that I can be, no matter what TV programme that I’m on. I know that when I come away, I analyse myself all the time – I should have said this, I could have done that, I could have provided more insight there – so for me, no matter what job I’m doing, when I was a football player, I wanted to be the best for me or I felt I was letting myself down.’

‘Actually, I still pinch myself, to be honest, because I don’t think I transitioned into this thinking ‘I want to make headlines, I want to be that first female, I want to do this’ – I was thinking ‘why are there not more females?’ I couldn’t understand.’

Pressure: Alex went on to outline how, as a woman of colour working in football, there is more pressure on her to perform in her punditry roles

‘I know about this sport, I talk about it constantly with all my friends, I’ve played at the highest level. In my head, I just couldn’t understand why not. That’s why I went into it, not for the headlines, but to be passionate about what I do. I was like, ‘you need more females, we need this representation.’

Alex has been targeted by ‘awful trolls’ on social media after she was tipped to be in the running to replace Sue Barker on A Question Of Sport. 

She was rumoured to have secured the gig earlier this month after the after Sue, 64, was axed as host after 24 years.

Alex, who is of Irish and Jamaican descent, has since received thousands of racist comments online.  

End of an era: Alex has been targeted by ‘awful trolls’ on social media after she was tipped to be in the running to replace Sue Barker on A Question Of Sport

Much of the abuse suggested Alex is only in pole position for the job because of the colour of her skin.

One told her: ‘Wow, I see you got the job Sue Barker has done so well for so many years. It’s obviously because of your presenting skills. Nothing else. Nothing PC. Nothing about having token black people on the BBC. You must be very proud.’

A source called the comments ‘disgusting’, as reports suggest the star has been contacted by a troll hunting firm, Defuse Global, having been bombarded with messages.

MailOnline contacted a representative for Alex and the BBC for a comment.  

You can listen to the second episode of ‘Between The Lines with Melissa Reddy’ now.

Career: Alex has previously played for England and Arsenal before becoming a successful TV presenter (pictured in 2017) 

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