People Are Mad That This Female SBS Commentator Is Pronouncing Names Correctly
Sexism? In Sport?
Update: Lucy Zelic has clapped back at her detractors and patiently explained why pronouncing names correctly really matters.
Criticism has been heaped on SBS World Cup host Lucy Zelic, and for one very specific reason — some are saying that she over-pronounces foreign names.
The abuse shows up both on Twitter, and in comments on SBS’ The World Game social media pages.
Is it just me or is Lucy Zelic fucking annoying when she speaks.
— Stoj ? (@ChristinaaRa) June 15, 2018
Lucy Zelic's over-pronounciation of foreign names is insufferable.
— Strats ?? (@strats_11) June 19, 2018
New World Cup drinking game.
1 shot everytime Lucy Zelic over pronounces a players name.
2 shots everytime Craig Foster disagrees with Lucy Zelic.
3 shots for each time sbs cut to an add
5 shots if Lucy Zelic is able to emote even slightly through all the botox!
— Lara Burt (@Menoptera) June 18, 2018
Zelic is SBS Television’s chief football host. She, along with SBS stalwart Craig Foster, combine to present the channel’s FIFA World Cup coverage.
As news.com.au reported, Zelic is no stranger to abuse: four years ago, at the last World Cup, she was reduced to tears because of the criticism she copped on social media.
She rose through the ranks after hosting a community radio football show in Canberra, before taking on a role with Football Federation Australia’s A-League podcast. Zelic joined the SBS in 2013.
The host is a strong advocate for female sports journalists and the inclusion of women in sporting codes.
“It’s all about perception and the language we use about the women involved,” she told The Australian earlier in the year. “Melbourne City ran a campaign this year which said ‘it’s not women’s football, it’s just football’. I loved that. The more we keep pointing out the differences, the more of a divide we create.”
In response to the latest abuse, public figures threw their support behind Zelic, and suggested that some of the criticism was sexist.
We should be applauding the approach @LucyZelic has taken to pronouncing people’s names. That’s how it should be. It’s an example other sport broadcasters — and others — can learn from https://t.co/4mv2ReH8oz
— Tim Soutphommasane (@timsout) June 22, 2018
People don't realise how racist we are…entire careers have been dashed at other broadcasters because ppl higher up believed they sounded or looked different therefore were not palatable for their audiences https://t.co/0oDgEFTkfe
— Tawar Razaghi (@TawarRazaghi) June 23, 2018
Just a reminder that Lucy Zelic was doing podcasts and commentating on Canberra United games for years before the sbs gig for no other reason than the love of the game – https://t.co/OOUolNjcxF
— Pads (@notmywalrus) June 22, 2018
Zelic was compared to the late commentator Les Murray, who similarly took effort to pronounce foreign football names and terms correctly.
Bunch of young flogs criticising Lucy Zelic and how she pronounces names. When Les Murray did it, he was a cult hero. She is paying respect to the world game. Shame on those putting her down, especially women. She has done a stellar job hosting. #Russia2018 #WorldCup
— Anthony Siokos (@AnthonySiokos) June 20, 2018
Almost don't want to waste energy talking about people who are hating on @LucyZelic for being good at what she does. Almost. She's proudly carrying the torch Les passed on to her & long may she continue to pronounce properly and present like a champ.
"Don't you dare look away"
— Dave (@eldantehicks) June 22, 2018
SBS will be broadcasting all group stage games of the World Cup: Optus Sport, who had held onto the exclusive rights for most group stage games, offered them to SBS after generating outrage with their faulty streaming service.