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Leeds epitomized everything there is to love about them during Tuesday night’s 5-0 win at Sam Allardyce’s West Brom, scoring so many outstanding team goals that Romaine Sawyers’ wonderful piece of self-sabotage was almost eclipsed. Almost.
In an attempt to save Sawyers’ blush, the Leeds Twitter account took matters into its own hands by tweeting a clipped video of Amazon Prime expert Karen Carney doing her job, accompanied by a caption poking fun at her analysis.
The video sparked a ton of Twitter, with a variety of direct Carney-style taunts. And since she is a woman who dares to comment on football, much of the abuse received was sexist.
First, the comment.
“They beat everyone,” Carney said. “My only concern would be: will they blow up at the end of the season? In fact, we saw that in the last couple of seasons, I actually think they were promoted by COVID, in terms of it giving them a little breathing space. I don’t know if they would have gone up if they hadn’t had that break. “
Carney wasn’t questioning Leeds’ pre-shutdown form – any Leeds fan on Twitter last night will proudly tell you that he won five out of five before the three-month hiatus imposed by the coronavirus.
However, having been excellent for the first eight and a half months of the 2018/19 campaign, the Whites infamously collected a 12 point in their last four league games to miss out on automatic promotion, before imploding in the second half of their Playoff semi-final second leg against Derby to consign them to the Championship for one more year.
Such are the demands placed on a Bielsa team due to their intense, exciting and action-packed style of play, which have a history of exhaustion towards the end of the season. Both at Marseille in 2014/15 and at Athletic Club in 2011/12, their teams suffered a drop in form at the end of the season.
Therefore, Carney’s point, perhaps awkwardly expressed, is not absolutely outrageous. Leeds took a three-month hiatus and then won seven of their last nine league games to clinch the championship title.
This is not an attack on the club, nor on the players, nor on the coach, nor on their achievements. He is simply suggesting that Leeds benefited from resting and subsequently experiencing less physical and mental fatigue given how exhaustive his style of play is.
Second, the decision to publish the video.
Social media is often a kind, caring, and supportive place, always providing context and the perfect platform for nuanced discussion. How could such a malicious response have been predicted?
Oh wait, Twitter is horrible.
The people who manage a club’s social media account have a responsibility. Leeds is a great club. They have more than 665,000 followers on Twitter. It’s absolutely possible to have a sense of humor, but the club’s official social media account just instigated days of personal abuse towards a human being for having an opinion. It was not a rude, unpleasant or mean opinion. It was a simple opinion about football.
You just won a soccer game, don’t be mean, have a little class.
Leeds has ‘condemned’ the abusive comments directed at Carney. However, they have not removed the video.
Third, Gabby Agbonlahor.
People were quick to defend Leeds, as the club has a habit of criticizing critics on Twitter. You know, like a bitter 13-year-old boy yelling at haters in a Snapchat story.
Former Aston Villa forward Agbonlahor posted a series of tweets with the brazen aim of wiping out Leeds’s fan base, and it hit a nerve as Leeds happily responded after October’s win over Villa. However, Carney’s comments were not intended to antagonize. She was doing her job as an expert.
The club’s Twitter account also previously responded to Chris Wilder and Swansea City, but not with a video of Wilder or Swansea. On those occasions, they celebrated Leeds’s success and spoke subtly with the couple. The post’s focus is on Carney, with Leeds’s win an afterthought. And this has resulted in a barrage of unwarranted hatred directed at her.
The post was not sexist. Experts, men and women, will comment on Leeds throughout the season; some will be insightful, some will be silly, and some will be somewhere in between. It’s unfortunate that the only time Leeds decided to call in an expert so publicly, he turned out to be one of the few women working in men’s sports.
However, the post was naive.
When you select an expert, obviously they are going to suffer abuse related to their gender.
If the post had been about Gary Neville, they wouldn’t have told him to go back to the kitchen, they wouldn’t accuse him of giving him his job not on merit but simply to check a box, and they would never tell him their opinion. not valid because of your gender.
Women can have a say in men’s football. Dion Dublin and Ian Wright have opinions on women’s football and they are brilliant.
Carney has spoken openly about fighting depression during her playing career, and was subjected to rape and death threats while at Chelsea in 2018. You didn’t have to bother her.
The video also pointlessly adds fuel to the nasty rhetoric about female soccer experts in the men’s game. Or any woman in a traditionally masculine environment.
Every time Alex Scott appears as an expert, he starts trending on Twitter. And it’s never about people saying nice things about her or praising her role in Arsenal’s four-win squad in the 2006/07 season.
When Jacqui Oatley got the Sunday supplement concert in January 2020, Twitter users insisted it was because she was filling a quota and not because of her quality as an announcer.
When Sue Perkins was linked with the vacancy Top gear After Jeremy Clarkson and her colleagues left in 2015, she was forced to leave social media because trolling was horrible. He didn’t even want the job, he was just happy chatting about cakes with his partner Mel.
Women in male dominated fields have this all the time and of course Carney was going to be subject to the same.
The official club accounts are there to bring you team news and post official statements accompanied by an ominous photograph of the corner flag. Anything else is an advantage. Publicly inviting mass abuse of a person for having an opinion is not part of the package.