BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey has jumped to the defence of colleague Karen Carney after she received ‘horrible’ online abuse after her comments about Leeds United.
When asked about her take on the club, Carney argued Leeds had benefitted from the coronavirus-enforced hiatus earlier in the year, with the time off enabling players to get some crucial rest in order to maximise manager Marcelo Bielsa’s intense and physical style of play.
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When asked about Leeds’ promotion to the Premier League from the English Football League after the break, Carney suggested they had been given some ‘respite’ thanks to the time off, adding that she was curious to see if players would wane as the season wore on.
Carney has since deleted her Twitter account after being bombarded with online abuse from fans following Leeds United’s controversial tweet singling out the former footballer turned pundit for her take on the club.
Following the abuse from fans, Humphrey delivered an impassioned speech live on air for the “horrible, misogynistic, sexist, vile abuse” to stop.
“Just a brief word of support for our always hard-working, well-researched, excellent colleague Karen Carney,” Humphrey said.
“Whether it’s Jermaine (Jenas), whether it’s Rio (Ferdinand), whether it’s Karen, whether it’s any pundit on any sports network, they are literally paid to have an opinion.
“You don’t have to agree with their opinion, you don’t have to like their opinion but the whole point of living in a civil society is that we all have opinions.
“We might disagree and it creates debate. And that’s cool.”
"That is NOT an example of a tolerant society."
"Sending people abuse on social media isn't victimless, it hurts people."@mrjakehumphrey with a message of support for Karen Carney ❤️
Well said! pic.twitter.com/b3NGH5qRq6
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 2, 2021
Humphrey added the online abuse isn’t “victimless” and can hurt people it is directed towards.
“What’s not cool though is the horrible, misogynistic, sexist, vile abuse that went Karen’s way in the hours after her comments about Leeds,” he added.
“That is not an example of a tolerant society.
“And if we saw anything in 2020, surely we saw the fact that sending people abuse on social media isn’t victimless.
“It hurts people. And Karen has since decided to leave Twitter.
“So perhaps if 2020 and the years before it were all about intolerance and division, 2021 and the years that follow need to be about acceptance and compassion.”
Football community rallies around Carney
The football community has rallied around Carney since the controversy, with many calling for the post to be deleted after Carney was mocked.
BBC journalist Emma Sanders said Leeds’ tweet was encouraging ‘unwarranted abuse on a platform which is already too toxic’.
She had support from fellow journalist and sporting commentator Jacqui Oatley, who also said it would encourage abuse towards Carney.
Others labelled Leeds’ tweet ‘desperately poor form’, while former Leeds defender Rio Ferdinand suggested the club should delete it.
England international Bethany England said the tweet was ‘atrocious behaviour’.
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