Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling said he was “distraught” after one of the show’s reporters, Michelle Owen, shared some of the abuse she receives in the wake of appearing on air.
Owen posted a number of the abusive messages on Twitter, in which she was told she “couldn’t do what she’s paid to do” and called “another useless woman football reporter”.
Further messages called her “clueless” and suggested Stelling’s tone when speaking to her showed he knew that equal pay should not be a conversation point. She was also told she was an “absolute disgrace as a so called mother”.
Earlier in the week Owen admitted to having missed a red card while reporting on the game between Walsall and Tranmere for Sky’s midweek goals show, but explained why the mishap has occurred and thanked “most for seeing the funny side”.
But in sharing the comments, Owen wrote on Twitter: “Woke up to more of this. It happens far too often to too many people, someone could aim their words at the wrong person with terrible consequences. When are social media platforms going to give accounts accountability? It’s just tiring.”
She added: “This is just a small snippet of the nasty ones. We see lovely messages too and enjoy interacting on here. But sometimes it gets a bit much.
“My little boy just saw I was a little upset and came and cuddled me, all we can do for now is show the next people on here to be better.
“And of course we can block but we read it first. Which isn’t nice. The vast majority are great, unfortunately the minority try and ruin it for everyone.”
In adding the comment about her parenting skills, she said: “At a loss really.
“It’s something every time I open up my phone, I don’t understand why I have to come off social media when I’m not the problem, sorry I can’t respond individually to the good wishes. Let’s all just be better.”
Stelling, the show’s long-standing and popular host, known for ribbing the reporters he conducts throughout the broadcast, wrote on Twitter: “Distraught to hear about the abuse MichelleOwen7 has been receiving.
“She is an outstanding reporter and presenter who I love working with. She happens to be a great person as well. She does not deserve this vitriol - no one does. Let’s all please stop.”
Kick It Out’s Troy Townsend added: “All deemed acceptable by these platforms because their community guidelines are a joke...Don’t worry about the impact and traumatic experience for individuals on the receiving end, you just let free speech reign.”
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