Out of order.
This is Mina Rzouki. She is a football journalist with a special focus on European leagues, particularly Serie A. She has been invited onto various worldwide media outlets including the BBC, CNN, ESPN, TRT World and BT Sport to provide her expert opinion. As with most football pundits, her views are forthright, opinionated, and of course, up for debate.
Rzouki appeared on BBC 5 Live on Tuesday evening, and was asked about her opinion on the respective merits of Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata. Her response was emphatic and perhaps somewhat surprising:
"Any day of the week if you offered me the choice between Morata and Lukaku, I wouldn't even think about it. I would pay £20m/£30m more if I had to, and I would bring in Morata..."
— BBC 5 Live Sport on BBC Sounds (@5liveSport) July 11, 2017
She went on to explain her statement, espousing the merits of Morata's game, talking up the Madrid player's experience and intelligence, and conversely questioning Lukaku's own intelligence and making the point that the Belgian may end up physically burned out by the sheer amount of football he has already played.
Now, you may agree with her comments and believe her to be spot on. On the other hand, you may think she's spouting utter shite and being disrespectful of Lukaku, who seems to come across as an intelligent individual with excellent footballing nous.
Fair enough, either way. As you'd imagine, many fundamentally disagreed with her view point and showed their chagrin in no uncertain terms:
So Lukaku isn't intelligent? What sort of rubbish is this?
— Osman (@United2706) July 11, 2017
So you'd rather the striker who doesn't score as many as the other. Makes sense.
— - (@IconicUnited) July 11, 2017
Can imagine Mourinho, post match interview after drawing 0-0 with Huddersfield.. "Although Morata didn't score, he looked intelligent" 🤦🏼♂️
— Michael Dunn (@mike7dunn) July 11, 2017
All of these reactions are passionately opposed to Rzouki's take, and that's cool. They're essentially treating her in the same way that they'd treat any other pundit they'd disagreed with, i.e. arguing that they feel she's talking rubbish. Someone like Robbie Savage or Neil Custis or Owen Hargreaves would get the same response.
However, there were a depressing number of replies that treated her very differently to any of her male counterparts. They decided to react is a disgustingly sexist way with a barrage of vile comments that had less to do with her opinions and more to do with her gender and their neanderthal prejudices.
This is not okay. Female pundits are exactly the same as male pundits - sometimes right, sometimes wrong, sometimes shite, sometimes spot on. They deserve to be credited and discredited for being good or bad, not for being men or women.
Apologies for the following bile, but it gives you just a taste of what women in football have to contend with:
— StelGreco (@StelGreco) July 11, 2017
She doesn't even understand the offside rule get her back in the kitchen!
— Pres (@MistaRobz) July 11, 2017
silly fucking bint
— • (@van4ken) July 12, 2017
She's chatting shit.. wanna get banged? pic.twitter.com/rzULwoDEEj
— SIRE® (@SIR3_) July 11, 2017
— ً (@Pogbability) July 11, 2017
This is why football is a mans sport
— Nathan Goldie (@GoldieNathan) July 11, 2017
And this is why women shouldn't comment on football 😂
— Donners (@AndyPandy1995) July 11, 2017
Go on to the kitchen now
— abed tarraf (@TarrafAbed) July 12, 2017