Sports

Vile Karen Carney abuse shows sexism is alive and kicking in football & society

At the beginning of 2020, while co-hosting 606 on 5Live with Robbie Savage, I argued that FA Cup replays should be scrapped.

I felt that there was a better system to be implemented that would benefit everyone. The reaction on social media was nothing short of brutal. I was lambasted as a woman who didn’t know what she was talking about.

At the same time, Gary Lineker shared an almost identical opinion on FA Cup replays, yet there wasn’t a dot of the reaction I took.

I shouldn’t have to mention in this context that I could have chosen to pursue pro football instead of hockey as my sporting career because ultimately I was just a presenter of a football show giving a reasoned argument for my opinion. And it was an opinion that happened to be shared by one of this country’s most famous footballers.

Karney was subjected to abuse on social media

Watching the reaction to the Karen Carney and Leeds United fallout has been fascinating. It seems that 99 per cent of fingers are pointed at Leeds’ Twitter account for throwing Carney under a bus.

Leeds have behaved poorly in my opinion, but I think we are missing the main point here. I believe Leeds’ Twitter account would have done the same if Gary Neville or Jamie Carragher had said what Carney had said, but the reaction from fans would have been very different.

The uncomfortable truth for people is that the reason the reaction has been so vile towards Carney is because she is a woman who a vast sway of fans don’t believe has the right to say what she said. It is the ugly face of sexism.

Carney has 144 Caps for England and gave a strong opinion, which is what we want all pundits to do. She has every right to say what she said, and she will also know fans or other pundits have the right to disagree with her – that’s the game of opinions.

Yet, there is a large part of our society that still doesn’t want to hear what any woman has to say about football.

I am part of an NFL talk show on YouTube which features myself, a social media personality, a comedian and a BBC Radio presenter.

I know NFL extremely well and give strong opinions. I then watch the abusive comments come flying in and they are not pointed at the social-media personality, comedian or radio presenter, but instead at the Olympic gold medallist – the only woman on the panel.

If you give strong opinion, then you have to be prepared for strong reaction. I know that and Karen Carney knows that, as do the likes of Gary Neville – but what Carney will be exposed to now is something very different.

Football is often our barometer for where things are in society with racism and sexism. The last week has shown me that sexism is alive and kicking.




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