There were two aspects of this year’s Ballon d’Or awards in Paris that generated controversy. Firstly, that Lionel Messi did not win the men’s award when he remains, head and shoulders, above any other player on earth, especially Luka Modric who actually won it. And secondly, the furore that erupted when one of the presenters, Martin Solveig, a DJ of whom I had never heard, caused an outrage when he asked the woman footballer of the year, Ada Hegerberg, if she knew ‘the way to twerk’. As a man of a certain age, I had no idea what a ‘twerk’ was. In any event, I was too busy looking at her breasts. Okay, I wasn’t really, but I hope I have drawn you in to this blog.
As well as not knowing who Mr Solveig was, I had never before seen Ms Hegerberg. She’s young enough, I’m afraid to say, to be my granddaughter but I was struck by how very attractive she was as she went to collect her award. And yes, I did notice she wasn’t wearing a bra. In these days of equality, which I support 100% with absolutely no qualifications, is it wrong to fancy someone?
I greatly admire any number of female athletes on the basis of their athletic ability. Watching Jessica Ennis-Hill win the heptathlon at the London Olympics was one of the highlights of my TV viewing life. She was, unarguably, the best all round female athlete on the planet and I supported her purely on that basis. That she is also one of the most attractive women on the planet is neither here nor there. But Ian not going to pretend I didn’t notice that bit, either.
To be fair, I would not seek to patronise our Jess if I happened to bump into her. I would certainly not ask her to ‘twerk’ because it would be rude and inappropriate. I would tell her she was one of the greatest athletes who ever lived, a credit to herself, her sport and her family and I would thank her for making the country feel good about itself in 2012. I’d struggle to put it out of my mind that she was also a beautiful woman.
Of course, what happened was dreadfully sexist. When he was introduced, Modric was not asked if he could ‘twerk’ because, quite simply, he was a man and men don’t get asked these sort of questions. Ms Hegerberg was asked because she is a woman. And it wasn’t acceptable.
People should be judged on who they are and what they do, not by what they look like. I get that. I suppose George Clooney and the bloke who plays Poldark are judged more on how they act than how they look, although I do know a large number of people, mainly women, who are drawn to these men specifically because they happen to be very attractive. Bastards.