Sports commentator’s sexist remark sparks outrage

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Turkish sports commentator Melih Şendil has apologized in the wake of public backlash after he said women do not have a place in football and that the sport was a patriarchal game on a program on TV.

Şendil said he did not like the pink jersey that Real Madrid players wore while commentating on a Manchester City – Real Madrid game played in the UEFA Champions League Round of the 16-second leg on Aug. 7, evening.

“Football is such a patriarchal game, and it suits women very well to play volleyball, but my personal opinion is that women should not be in football,” Şendil said, noting that he also considers basketball as a men’s game.

“It will sound discriminatory, and they will criticize [me for saying this], but it doesn’t matter. We are used to it. I would never let wear pink jerseys [to a team] if I were a chairman [of a football club],” he added.

When Şendil asked the other commentator İlker Yağcıoğlu for his opinions on the topic, Yağcıoğlu also agreed with him, adding that he would not allow that as well.

Şendil’s sexist remarks have stirred a fierce debate across Turkey and sparked outrage on social media as critics claimed that they are sexist, discriminatory, and deepen equality between genders.

“Football is a game played by women, pink is a color that can be worn by men, and the most incredible is that volleyball suits men as well. Don’t limit yourself at all. Especially us [women],” said Banu Yelkovan, a Turkish sports columnist on Twitter.

Another sportswriter Kenan Başaran referred to the Istanbul Convention as a treaty aiming to combat violence against women, while criticizing Şendil.

Stating that the company should make Şendil wear a pink shirt, Başaran said that he would not lose anything from his masculinity if he did.

Başaran also described it as a disgrace that when a person in the position of Şendil acts sexism and scorns the act that should get appreciation.

Meanwhile, Şendil apologized due to the swelling reactions on social media and the harsh criticism of known sports figures.

“I sincerely apologize to the beIN SPORTS family, which has always firmly opposed gender discrimination, as well as to all our women and viewers, especially our respected people, who were offended by comments that exceeded my intentions,” Şendil said.

A condemnation statement came out from the broadcaster of beIN Sports for Şendil’s remarks, saying, “We take all kinds of measures urgently to avoid such a situation again.”

Hurriyet Daily News

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