A sports commentator has been criticised for saying that a Women’s World Cup 2023 player hadn’t let motherhood squash her “competitive instinct”.
Broadcaster David Basheer made the comments on Australian network Channel Seven during a match between Australia’s Matildas and Ireland on Thursday (20 July) after midfielder Katrina Gorry won a tackle.
“Certainly motherhood has not blunted her competitive instinct, that’s for sure,” Basheer said. “She is one fighter for Australia.”
Australia would go on to bag a vital goal that won them the opening Group B match, but not before fans took to Twitter to express their bewilderment at the comment.
“Since when were mothers less competitive?” one social media user wrote in a frustrated tweet. “Huh?”
Another commented: “I did a mental double take when I heard that.”
“Don’t know if that commentator has ever met a mother … The most instinctively competitive people on Earth,” a third wrote.
Despite the cringeworthy comment, which many criticised as vehemently sexist, Channel Seven dominated TV viewings during the Women’s World Cup opening match, with an audience of at least 1.24 million.
Gorry gave birth to her daughter Harper in 2021 after undergoing IVF treatment.
Following a brief period of leave, the 30-year-old began training with the Australian squad in April 2022.
Supporters of Gorry saw Basheer’s comment as sexist, despite how well-intentioned the praise may have been.
One viewer wrote that the commentary was “archaic”, especially in an event that is celebrating women in sports.
“Can the male commentating the Matilda’s Ireland game please refrain from suggesting it’s great a player’s competitive instinct hasn’t changed since she had a child?” University of Adelaide lecturer Dr Victoria Fielding wrote on Twitter.
Neither Basheer or Channel Seven have responded to the criticism at the time of reporting.
Questionable commentary aside, the Women’s World Cup has riveted fans since it began on Thursday, with an enthralling opening ceremony that celebrated the indigenous cultures of co-hosts Australia and New Zealand.
Additionally, the tournament has become one of the queerest in history, with 12 per cent of the Women’s World Cup roster being openly LGBTQ+.
Among them are several team members from England’s Lionesses, including Rachel Daly, Jess Carter, Bethany England and Lauren Hemp.
When asked about the amazing LGBTQ+ representation in the Women’s World Cup, Outsports co-founder Cyd Zeigler compared it unfavourably to the lack of representation in the men’s, where there were no openly LGBTQ+ players in the 2022 men’s FIFA World Cup.
“This is true across basketball, ice hockey and most every other sport. The WNBA [women’s netball] has over 25 per cent out women,” Zeigler. “That higher presence of out athletes naturally creates an environment where more women feel comfortable being out. As we say at Outsports, ‘courage is contagious’.”