DJ spoils win for Hegerberg with twerk­ing ‘joke’

The East African - - MAGAZINE -

It was meant to be a mo­ment of tri­umph. Ada Hegerberg, a 23-year-old Nor­we­gian foot­ball player, had just be­come the first woman to win the Bal­lon d’or, one of soc­cer’s most pres­ti­gious in­di­vid­ual hon­ours.

But for some, the his­toric mo­ment was quickly spoiled when, in an on­stage ex­change af­ter her ac­cep­tance speech this past Mon­day, the French DJ Martin Solveig asked Hegerberg some­thing that had noth­ing to do with her ex­per­tise: Whether she knew how to twerk.

“No,” Hegerberg said, quickly dis­miss­ing the idea. She plays for the peren­nial French cham­pi­ons Olympique Lyon.

The ex­change took off on so­cial me­dia, where crit­ics — in­clud­ing some high-pro­file ath­letes — ac­cused Solveig of sex­ism and as­sailed him for un­der­min­ing a mo­ment of pro­fes­sional achieve­ment with a ref­er­ence to the provoca­tive dance move. The con­tro­versy nearly over­shad­owed the news that Luka Modric beat Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and Lionel Messi for the men’s Bal­lon d’or. The award for best player had been re­served for male play­ers from its in­cep­tion in 1956, un­til the women’s Bal­lon d’or was cre­ated this year.

“This is an ab­so­lute joke,” Lindsey Ho­ran, a United States women’s team mid­fielder who was one of the fi­nal­ists for the women’s Bal­lon d’or, tweeted in re­sponse to Solveig’s com­ment. She of­fered her sup­port for Hegerberg: “Con­grats and you do not de­serve this.”

Andy Mur­ray, the ten­nis star, also con­demned the com­ment in a post on In­sta­gram. “To ev­ery­one who thinks peo­ple are over­re­act­ing and it was just a joke.. It wasn’t,” he wrote. “I’ve been in­volved in sport my whole life and the level of sex­ism is un­real.”

But even as oth­ers held up the mo­ment as yet an­other ex­am­ple of sex­ism in sports, Hegerberg said she didn’t view it that way. “I wasn’t up­set,” she told The As­so­ci­ated Press. “He came to me af­ter the sit­u­a­tion and he apol­o­gised, but I didn’t take it as that at all.” She said her mind was on her achieve­ment: “I got the Bal­lon d’or.” -

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