Leeds has condemned the online abuse aimed at Karen Carney after the Premier League club mocked a comment made by the former England player while working on a match broadcast.
But Leeds did not delete the tweet that took exception to Carney suggesting the club benefited from a three-month pause in play last season due to the pandemic as it secured promotion back to the top division after a 16-year exile.
Leeds posted a clip filmed by a supporter off Amazon Prime’s coverage of Leeds’ 5-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday night. It led to sexist abuse being targeted at Carney.
Leeds said it “completely condemns any abuse received” by Carney but did not delete the original tweet.
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“Everyone at our club respects Karen greatly for all she has achieved in the game, as well as her work in the media and the charity work she undertakes,” Leeds said in a statement.
American star Megan Rapinoe wrote “don’t come for @karenjcarney she’s a National treasure” as she posted “shame” above the tweet from Leeds.
Carney played 144 times for England, including at four World Cups.
“They (Leeds) outrun everyone and credit to them,” Carney said on Amazon. “My only concern would be, would they blow up at the end of the season?
“We saw that in the last couple of seasons and I actually think they got promoted because of COVID, in terms of it gave them a bit of respite. I don’t know whether they would have gone up if they didn’t have that break.”
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Leeds, which has often responded to criticism from pundits by mocking them on social media, only included the phrase “promoted because of COVID” in the club’s tweet.
“Whether you agree with the comment or not, singling out & ridiculing an individual on an official club account is not what we’re here for,” the Women in Football group tweeted. “Karen Carney is a well-informed pundit. This tweet is inciteful & inappropriate. Not a good look now, or at any time.”
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani defended the club’s actions.
Radrizzani, replying to a tweet which said Leeds should be “ashamed” of their actions, wrote: “I take the responsibility of the club tweet. I consider that comment (from Carney) completely unnecessary and disrespectful to our club and particularly to the fantastic hard work of our players and coaches whom were understanding on the pitch for the last two Championship seasons by all stats.”
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Radrizzani was supported by Brighton defender Ben White, who was an ever-present on loan at Leeds last season when Marcelo Bielsa’s side claimed 93 points from 46 games to finish 10 points clear of second-placed West Brom.
White posted three crying emojis and current Leeds player Mateusz Klich also used emojis to show disgust at Carney’s comments.
Leeds’ thrashing of West Brom lifted them to 11th in the Premier League with 23 points from 16 games.