Norwegian soccer star Ada Hegerberg made history Monday by becoming the first woman to receive FIFA’s Ballon d’Or. But her groundbreaking accomplishment also came with dash of controversy.
At the end of the presentation ceremony in Paris, French D.J. and producer Martin Solveig, who had playfully struck a dance pose with Hegerberg earlier, asked her (in French) to twerk.
Hegerberg said just one word in response: “No.” And she immediately walked off the stage.
Social media, including Sports Illustrated‘s Grant Wahl, picked up on the exchange immediately.
As the controversy erupted, Solveig issued an apology “to the one I may have offended:”
“I didn’t know that this could be seen as such an offense, especially if you consider the sequence in total when we ended up dancing (to) Frank Sinatra … This was a joke. Probably a bad one.”
Sincere apologies to the one I may have offended. My point was : I don’t invite women to twerk but dance on a Sinatra song. Watch the full sequence People who have followed me for 20 years know how respectful I am especially with women pic.twitter.com/pnZX8qvl4R
— Martin Solveig (@martinsolveig) December 3, 2018
Solveig said he apologized to Hegerberg, who acknowledged his comments were in jest. Hegerberg later said that she wasn’t upset with Solveig.
The incident came shortly after Hegerberg told the Associated Press she would not be playing for Norway at the next Women’s World Cup due to what she felt was a lack of respect for female soccer players in her home country.
Hegerberg shared the stage with Luka Modric of Croatia as FIFA handed out separate honors for the sport’s top players for the first time.
Follow Steve Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner.