Female Athlete Is Honored, Then Asked to Twerk

Soccer star Ada Hegerberg declines at French ceremony
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2018 6:21 AM CST
Updated Dec 9, 2018 4:00 PM CST

(Newser) – It was, as Norwegian soccer great Ada Hegerberg told the audience, "a huge step for women's football." The 23-year-old had just become the first woman to win the prestigious Ballon D'or in France, which recognizes the greatest soccer player in the world. And then the event's host tried to be funny: French DJ Martin Solveig asked Hegerberg to dance and wondered if she knew how to twerk, reports Time. Hegerberg responded "no" and began walking off stage, the moment captured here, though she did remain to dance with Solveig to a Frank Sinatra song. The "twerk" question, though, exploded on social media, with Solveig coming under worldwide criticism for sexism. “This is disgusting,” tweeted US soccer great Abby Wambach. “Imagine having just been given the best award for your craft/job/passion, and this is the question you’re asked?!"

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From the tennis world, Andy Murray called it “another example of the ridiculous sexism in sport," per the Guardian. Solveig tweeted an apology video, saying it was a "bad joke" and not meant to offend, and Hegerberg herself told the BBC that she didn't perceive it as an insult in the moment. "I was just happy to do the dance and win the Ballon d'Or, to be honest." Though Hegerberg isn't joining the anti-Solveig bandwagon, she is a big proponent for women's equality in sport. The AP reports, for example, that she won't play for Norway in next year's Women's World Cup because she thinks the team's players aren't treated fairly. "It's all about how we respect women's football," she said. "I don't think the respect has been there." (People were miffed about US soccer star Brandi Chastain's likeness on a plaque.)

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