Culture

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.

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.

Zelic was compared to the late commentator Les Murray, who similarly took effort to pronounce foreign football names and terms correctly.

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.