Matilda’s superstar Sam Kerr was disgusted and furious at Australian football legend Robbie Slater’s comments, labeling them “the most sexist thing you could say”.
In an upcoming documentary about the Aussie squad as they prepare for a home game for the Women’s World Cup in July and August, Skipper fumes as she describes Slater’s claim that her national team goalscoring record is “not equal” to Aussie- Tim Cahill’s legend.
The article, which appeared on the front page and two sports pages of News Corp’s Daily Telegraph on January 23 last year, came after Kerr became Australia’s all-time leading goalscorer with five goals in an Asian Cup match.
At the time, Kerr simply said it was “an honor” to even be “in the same conversation” as Cahill after breaking his record; and chose to divert praise to her teammates; as she always has.
While she can block the haters, Kerr has never been able to put up with injustice or a disrespect for women’s sports — and she made that perfectly clear with her anger at Slater’s insistence that she was “not equal” to Cahill because of her gender.
Sam Kerr was furious after her all-time Australian goalscoring record was deemed ‘not equal’ on the front page of the Daily Telegraph
After the Matildas beat Thailand last November, Kerr took time to chat with a young fan who said she looked up to the Aussie skipper as Kerr would have looked up to Olympic legend Cathy Freeman.
In February, skipper Kerr had Matilda’s youngster Courtney Nevin (No. 2) hold aloft the Cup of Nations trophy as she attempted to avoid the spotlight.
Kerr (centre) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal in the Matildas’ stunning 2-0 win over England on April 11
“Literally the most sexist thing you could say – not right,” Kerr says in the new six-part documentary on Disney+ called Matildas: The World at our Feet.
“Imagine little girls reading that.
“I can’t believe in this day and age that someone could write this and get young girls to read it, and that the (Daily) Telegraph would actually publish such a sexist commentary on the front page.”
‘NOT EQUAL’, ‘ONRESPECTFUL’ and ‘IT’S RIDICULOUS’ were used in giant block letters on both the cover and the front and back pages of the sports section of the Daily Telegraph’s issue last year to describe how strong Slater felt.
Slater – who scored one goal in 44 caps for Australia – couldn’t believe a Matildas player could be billed as Australia’s all-time goalscorer rather than a male Socceroos player like Cahill.
That’s despite female players of Kerr’s generation receiving a small share of the game’s financial backing that male stars get, even though Australia is one of the world’s top women’s teams.
The front page of the Daily Telegraph on January 23, 2022, which called Kerr’s record as “not equal to Cahill’s, was literally the most sexist thing you could say,” according to Kerr in an upcoming documentary.
The sports section’s front (right) and back (left) pages continued to attack the rhetoric that Kerr broke the record, which Slater said was “disrespectful” to Cahill.
Kerr converts a penalty against Indonesia in the 2022 Asian Cup, a match in which she broke Tim Cahill’s record with a five-goal haul
“Let’s not declare Kerr Australia’s all-time best goalscorer,” he wrote for the Daily telegram.
‘Do not get me wrong. Sam Kerr is a fantastic player and I am delighted that she has now scored 54 times for Australia… yes, she has scored more goals for the Matildas than any other player in history.
“But Tim Cahill was a Socceroo, not a Matilda. His 50 goals for the Socceroos is a record that should not be overshadowed by Kerr’s achievements.
“This is disrespectful to Cahill.”
But Cahill, arguably the greatest Australian male player of all time, clearly didn’t want to be a part of it.
“Congratulations Sam Kerr on this great achievement. You are an inspiration worldwide and I am one of your biggest supporters and I am always here for you in and out of the park. Keep breaking records and above all enjoy the journey,” he wrote on social media.
Tim Cahill (top, celebrates a goal in 2017 for the Socceroos) was previously Australia’s all-time leading goalscorer, but congratulated Kerr on his record
Kerr’s defiant stance on the ‘sexist’ article has received widespread support from around the footballing world.
‘She and every other Matilda are Australian, and so is every Socceroo. Logic says we can absolutely say that Sam Kerr is the highest Australian goalscorer. Women’s achievements in sport are worth celebrating and when someone is as iconic as Kerr, we certainly recognize that,” one fan wrote on social media.
Kerr’s position on Slater’s article is hugely important to women’s sports.
Sam Kerr (No. 20) and merry teammates celebrate winning the Cup of Nations in February
Arsenal and Matildas star Steph Catley revealed the sad truth that she had no female role model, such as lacking a visible presence or genuine respect for female athletes.
“Growing up, I didn’t even know who the Matildas were. It just wasn’t on TV and all my (sports) role models were men,” she said in the Disney+ documentary.
“If someone asks me, ‘Who was your female sports idol growing up?’ I can’t answer it because I didn’t have (one).
“So that’s the most important thing right now: to inspire that next generation and show girls they can do whatever they want.”