Leeds United were heavily criticised on social media this week after a controversial tweet led to Amazon Prime pundit Karen Carney receiving abuse online.
Carney, who scored 32 goals in 144 games for England Women, said Leeds could “blow up” at the end of the season and suggested Marcelo Bielsa’s side were only promoted from the Championship last season due to the pandemic.
“They outrun everyone and credit to them," she said. “My only concern would be that they blow up at the end of the season?
“We saw that a couple of season ago and I actually think they got promoted because of COVID, as it gave them a bit of respite.
“I don’t know whether they would have gone up if they didn’t have that break.”
Leeds United’s media team embedded the video into a tweet after thrashing West Brom 5-0 on Tuesday night - and the outcome was inevitable.
It led to a pile-on towards Carney. Football fans then united to defend the pundit, while slamming Leeds for posting the tweet.
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani took full responsibility, writing: “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.”
But almost 48 hours later and the tweet - which has 5.8k tweets and 55k ‘likes’ - is still live. It seems Leeds have no intention of deleting it, despite the backlash.
Megan Rapinoe, one of the biggest names in women’s football, added to the backlash on Twitter.
The 35-year-old tweeted: “Shame. Shame. Shame. Thicken up that skin y’all. Also, don’t come for @karenjcarney she’s a National treasure.”
Curiously, the tagged account is no longer active, which suggests Carney may have deleted her Twitter account in the aftermath of this week’s Twitter pile-on.
Hopefully she’s okay and still feels confident enough to express her honest views live on air the next time she’s on.
Having the backing of high-profile personalities like Rapinoe will only help on that front.