Alex Scott: sports pundit and former footballer says trolling and racist abuse left her ‘scared for her life’

The former Arsenal footballer has made a huge name for herself in the sports commentary field - but has faced sickening online attacks from trolls and racist social media users.

Alex Scott has revealed the heart-breaking impacts that racist abuse and online trolling have had on her, admitting at one point she became “scared for [her] life”.

The ex-footballer, who played as right-back for Arsenal and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, has now forged a hugely successful career in broadcasting. She has become a regular face on sports commentary panels, presenting at the BBC’s World Cup coverage in 2018.

In the same year, she also made history by becoming the first ever female pundit on a Sky Sports Super Sunday. But Ms Scott’s career has also come with some low points. Her success has sadly made her the target of vicious trolling and sickening racist attacks online, some of which has made her “slip into dark places.”

In an interview with The Times, the football pundit opened up a few of these occasions. In the summer of 2021 for instance, Ms Scott was attacked on social media over false reports she had been chosen to replace Sue Barker as the new presenter of A Question Of Sport, a role which went to Paddy McGuinness.

‘I was scared for my life’

“I was scared to leave my house to even go to the shop,” she said, adding that she had received many death threats. “That’s the stage that we’d got to – that, oh my gosh, someone black might be replacing a national treasure could cause such hatred.”

She also told the newspaper about some of the abuse she faced after presenting at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics: “I loved being out at the Olympics, but afterwards I realised the mad pressure that I’d put on myself to take everything - the trolling, the racism, Lord Digby Jones.”

Alex Scott has opened up about the impacts of online trolling. Credit: Getty Images

The reference to ex-House of Lords Member Jones relates to a tweet he sent accusing her of negatively impacting BBC’s Olympic coverage with her East End accent - and asking if someone could give her elocution lessons.

The sports pundit, who was also a presenter for the Euro 2020, continued: “I went into the Olympics knowing the scrutiny that I would be under once again from all the trolls.

“But then to open Twitter and see that from him, I was just like, ‘I’m not going to be silent any more. I’ve had enough.’ So I just tweeted and went to bed. I’m from a working-class family in east London, Poplar, Tower Hamlets and I am PROUD,” Ms Scott responded on Twitter that evening. “Proud of the young girl who overcame obstacles, and proud of my accent! It’s me, it’s my journey.”

The sports commentator used to play for Arsenal. Credit: Getty Images

On that occasion, her inbox was in fact filled with support rather than abuse, with social media users sharing their own stories of discrimination. But that sadly did not mean the sexist and racist abuse stopped, and Ms Scott, after briefly turning to drink to drown out the trolls, finally sought out therapy.

She told The Times: “I take lessons from what’s happened to me. I wouldn’t be the person I am without all this.”

The inspiring personality, whose career has ranged from appearing on Strictly Come Dancing to making 140 appearances for the England football team, has not let the abuse stop her career however. In November, she will be heading to Doha to once again present the BBC’s World Cup coverage, before she heads back to the UK to present the Sports Personality of the Year ceremony in December.

You can read the full interview in The Times.