AFLW star and commentator Daisy Pearce has responded in classy fashion after finding herself at the centre of a contentious gender debate.
Pearce found herself at the centre of controversy earlier this month when AFL icon Rex Hunt took aim at Channel 7's decision to replace Wayne Carey with Pearce for special comments on Friday night football.
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Carey - who said the move was a mutual decision between himself and the network - has been bumped to the Saturday night role in 2022, with Pearce featuring on the ratings-leading Friday night timeslot instead.
Hunt - who played 202 matches in the VFL with Richmond, Geelong and St Kilda - suggested the move was all about 'equal genders' and insisted that Carey should never have been moved from the role.
AFL great Dermott Brereton then reignited the debate earlier this week by declaring that Carey was a superior AFL analyst to Pearce.
According to the Herald Sun, the Hawthorn champion wrote on social media: "Gender quotas aside, side-by-side against Daisy for football analysis, Wayne is by far the better analyst."
He also told the publication: “Rex Hunt is a legend.
“So often the common comeback is you are a middle-aged, white, Anglo-Saxon male who played in a male-dominated field and now you are threatened by a female.
“Honestly it is such a flimsy argument, I am not threatened by anyone. If you tell the truth to how you see it, then you have nothing to worry about.
“Daisy is a very competent commentator, but she is not Wayne Carey. So I can understand where Rex was coming from. He just didn’t quite annunciate it in a 2022 qualified fashion.”
Daisy Pearce hits back in gender debate
Pearce says despite not wanting to give the debate "any oxygen whatsoever", she felt compelled to speak out on behalf of other aspiring women in the industry.
"I get this sense of almost responsibility because other women and non-binary people who aspire to be in the industry, or are already in the industry, or just love footy and want to connect with footy, that they’re disheartened by it and offended by it," Pearce told SEN’s Whateley on Wednesday.
“So whilst I’m not, because I’ve done this for 20 years, either through trying to play footy or now working in the media, having your credibility questioned because you’re female isn’t a new thing that I’m just starting to deal with. I’m pretty thick-skinned when it comes to that.
“I can find on Twitter at Joe Blow 69 thinks that I’ve got no clue because I’m a female and never played men’s footy.
“I guess this is a little bit different and unusual in my opinion because another member of the AFL media fraternity - both current in Derm and past in Rex - have gone out of their way to give an opinion on who their favourite is. So that’s different.”
The ever classy Pearce says she respects the rights of fans to have differing opinions about her, and isn't surprised in the least that Brereton and Hunt prefer listening to Carey.
“When I read their comments and have heard the spin offs from it, what I hear at the crux of it is that they feel seen and heard when they watch Wayne Carey — and that’s understandable,” Pearce said.
“I mean, they played in similar eras. They probably idolised the way each other play. They might have similar values and past lived experiences and therefore ways of seeing the game.
“So I’m not surprised or offended by that in one bit. But that is one way with which to look at the game and there are many, is what I’ll say.
“So I’d say that whilst it might be ruining football for Rex, there might be people out there that can connect and engage with football better now that there is greater diversity in the broadcast team whether it’d be gender, race, background — whatever it is.”
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