The Karen Carney twitter situation

Ethan Todd delves into the Karen Carney and Leeds twitter debate.

Ethan Todd
4th March 2021
Karen Carney - image Wikimedia commons

Karen Carney, former English women’s footballer and now sports journalist, was forced to delete her twitter account, 3 days after a tweet by the official Leeds United football club which led to vile online abuse. 

Carney made a rather tongue in cheek remark about the way in which Leeds achieved promotion to the Premier League.

“I actually think they got promoted because of Covid…” .

The official account for Leeds with over 680,000 followers retweeted the video now yielding almost 6 million views. 

Rather than delving into the logistics of Leeds’s promotion run, it is more pertinent within the contemporary football community, to discuss the gender politics of this situation in regards to female football punditry in the men’s game. 

On one side, it could be seen that Leeds United’s tweet was inflammatory and knowingly would invite trolling and levels of abuse because of Carney’s comments, claiming that “I don’t know if they would have got up if they didn’t have that break.”. 

Social media managers of official football club accounts are aware of the highly contentious nature of football discourse on twitter, where online abuse of players and pundits is rife, akin to the racist abuse recently suffered by a plethora of professional players. 

Leeds’s admin knew that it would more than likely result in a pile on of comments about the legitimacy and accuracy of Karen Carney’s comments which aired on Amazon Prime broadcast of Leeds’s emphatic 5-0 battering of West Brom. 

As a result of the ever-shifting liberalism of modern society, it is fantastic that more female pundits are given a platform to showcase their knowledge within the men’s game; however, this does not make female pundits such as Carney or Alex Scott, exempt from fair criticism. 

No pundit, male or female, should be discounted from genuine critique, as to say that she should not be criticized because she is a woman does more to accentuate sexism than accepting the comments made in response and to move on. 

The tweet Leeds’s posted, provocative as it was, has nothing to do with gender as this undermines female punditry by assuming that they cannot take criticism for a mistake in the professional sphere. 

Considering Leeds’s history of going after other pundits such as Gabriel Agbonlahor, it is evident that the tweet yielded no sexist intent. 

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani stated that “I consider that comment completely unnecessary and disrespectful to our club…”.

Tweet us your thoughts here - did Leeds have the right to call out Carney's comments or was this done on purpose to invite trolling?

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AUTHOR: Ethan Todd
Aspiring football journalist studying at Newcastle University.

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