Premier League club Leeds United have been heavily criticised online after their club’s Twitter account singled out Amazon Prime commentator Karen Carney for her commentary.
Carney, a former England representative, had been asked for her thoughts after Leeds’ 5-0 victory over West Brom.
She 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 maager Marcelo Bielsa’s intense and physical style of play.
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.
“They outrun everyone and credit to them,” she said.
“My only concern would be, will they blow up at the end of the season like the last couple of seasons?
“I actually think they got promoted because of Covid in terms of it giving them a bit of respite.
“I don’t know if they’d have got up if they didn’t have that break.”
What many other experts, fans and even former Leeds players felt was an innocuous comment from a PL pundit had a spotlight shone on it by Leeds’ official Twitter account.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) December 29, 2020
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani doubled down on the team’s tweet after some spoke out against it, labelling Carney’s commentary ‘disrespectful’.
“I take the responsibility of the Club tweet,” he wrote.
“I consider that comment 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.”
I take the responsibility of the Club tweet. I consider that comment 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
— Andrea Radrizzani (@andrearadri) December 29, 2020
Leeds criticised for singling out female pundit
Others, however, felt singling out a female reporter was in poor taste.
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.
“The person tweeting on behalf of huge club, @LUFC, can’t have had to choose their exact wording perfectly on a freezing cold night on live TV, neither can they have been on the end of a Twitter pile on and experienced the consequences of abuse on mass scale,” Oatley wrote.
Others labelled Leeds’ tweet ‘desperately poor form’, while former Leeds defender Rio Ferdinand suggested the club should delete it.
This isn't cool. Shouldn't be outing pundits with a snapshot of their analysis. Kaz is one of the best around and always backs up her argument. This is just inviting unwarranted abuse on a platform which is already too toxic. https://t.co/77KODcLLNA
— Emma Sanders (@em_sandy) December 29, 2020
Targeting a journalist or pundit like this is desperately poor form. Get over yourselves and delete. https://t.co/yItuEw44CM
— John Brewin (@JohnBrewin_) December 29, 2020
Whether or not it’s a good point, about 100 different male pundits have said 100 different things about Leeds United and not one of them have been called out for it. This isn’t a good look lads https://t.co/5CQuA5YYxo
— Amitai Winehouse (@awinehouse1) December 29, 2020
— Jake Mallen (@_JMallen) December 29, 2020
Agree... delete tweet!
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) December 29, 2020
The scandal comes as the Premier League stares down another potential shutdown of their season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A total of 18 players and club staff returned positive tests for the virus, the most in any one day since the beginning of the pandemic.
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