Karen Carney: Ex-England footballer deletes Twitter account after Leeds United tweet sparks abuse

Former England footballer Karen Carney has deleted her Twitter account after being mocked by Leeds United in a tweet which led to a barrage of online abuse.

The television pundit was targeted by the Premier League club on social media after she suggested the coronavirus pandemic helped Leeds secure promotion to the top flight.

Carney, who played 144 times for England, said the three-month hiatus last season gave Marcelo Bielsa’s high-tempo team time to recover and she was concerned they may “blow up” at the end of this season.

On their official Twitter account, Leeds tweeted a clip of Carney speaking and wrote: “Promoted because of COVID. Won the league by 10 points.”

The clip, which has been viewed more than 5.8 million times, led to Carney facing sexist abuse from some Twitter users but the post has not been deleted by Leeds.

The club’s owner Andrea Radrizzani initially defended the tweet, saying Carney’s remarks were “completely unnecessary and disrespectful to our club”.

Leeds later issued a statement condemning any abuse of Carney, adding: “Everyone at our club respects Karen greatly for all she has achieved in the game, as well as her work in the media and the charity work she undertakes.”

The Women in Football network described Leeds’ tweet as “inciteful and inappropriate”.

“Whether you agree with the comment or not, singling out and ridiculing an individual on an official club account is not what we’re here for,” the group tweeted.

“Karen Carney is a well-informed pundit. This tweet is inciteful and inappropriate. Not a good look now, or at any time.”

Chelsea forward Bethany England also criticised Leeds for their “atrocious behaviour”.

“Cyber bullying a female pundit and opening her up to mass online abuse for doing her job and having her opinion,” she wrote on Twitter.

Carney also received support from America’s two-time World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe.

“Shame. Shame. Shame,” she posted. “Thicken up that skin y’all. Also, don’t come for Karen Carney, she’s a national treasure.”

Former Leeds and England defender Rio Ferdinand responded to a tweet criticising the Yorkshire club, which had said it was a “disgrace” and that it was “trying to embarrass a hard working pundit who will now be subject to vile abuse from LUFC fans”.

Ferdinand told his 10.8 million Twitter followers: “Agree… delete tweet!”

Carney, 33, played for Birmingham, Arsenal and Chelsea during her career and represented England at four World Cups.

Leeds have often responded to criticism from pundits by mocking them on social media.

Carney’s remarks about the club came during Amazon Prime Sport’s coverage of Leeds’ 5-0 win at West Brom on Tuesday.

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