Former England international Alex Scott has vowed to take the hit of social media abuse as she attempts to pave the way for others to follow in her footsteps.
The ex-Arsenal defender has spoken out on several occasions over the trolling to which she has been subjected as a woman of colour making her way in the male-dominated world of media punditry since her retirement as a player, something which intensified amid speculation that she was to replace Sue Barker as the host of BBC’s A Question of Sport show.
Speaking on the Between the Lines podcast, Scott said: “I went through a stage where it really did affect me. 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 any more, it is becoming too much for me’ that I spoke out about it.
“And when I did speak out about it, it helped, it changed, because people didn’t realise that I was struggling with it. You can’t help someone unless you actively speak out about it.
“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 I remind myself that I’m doing it for a positive reason – there are others coming through.”
Scott has become a familiar face on TV screens as something of a trailblazer, although she admits she has to pinch herself having not set out to play that particular role.
She said: “I was thinking, ‘Why are there not more females?’. I couldn’t understand. 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’.”