Former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro and ex-England rugby player Andy Goode are among stars defending Graeme Souness from ‘lightweight activism’ after the Sky Sports pundit described a match as ‘a man’s game’.
The former Liverpool footballer, 69, was giving his thoughts following a bust-up between Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte at the final whistle of their heated 2-2 draw on Sunday.
Both men were shown red cards, with players and staff from both sides having to jump in to separate them.
Analysing the game, Souness remarked: ‘Simulation and people throwing themselves to the ground. I’ve not seen that in the two games today. It’s a man’s game all of a sudden again.’
‘I think we’ve got our football back, as I would enjoy football – men at it, blow for blow, and the referee letting them get on with it.’
But his comments were denounced by former Lioness Eniola Aluko and current England player Bethany England, who told him to ‘get in the bin’.
Souness yesterday doubled down on his comments during an appearance on TalkSport, saying he does not regret a word of what he said.
And he has been backed by Dr Carneiro today, who described him as ‘one of the good guys’.
She said: ‘Genuinely believe it’s the “football old school” use of language as opposed to deliberate discriminatory behaviour.
Graeme Souness, 69, was commenting on Sky Sports on Sunday following a fiery 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Tottenham
The Premier League match at Stamford Bridge ended in an angry confrontation between the two managers Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte
Former Chelsea team doctor Eva Carneiro (pictured) today described Souness as ‘one of the good guys’, while he also received backing from former England Rugby star And
‘”Man’s game” as opposed to “boys game”. I have known Graeme Souness to be nothing but respectful of women in the man’s game.
‘A shame to target one of the good guys.’
Ex-England Rugby fly half Goode added: ‘People lambasting Graeme Souness for describing the game today as a man’s game again for players making hard tackles and not simulating really is the height of Twitter wokery!’
And replying to a tweet highlighting that ‘both men and women play football’, he added: ‘You’re wrong, what you’ve done is classic wokery.
‘You’ve taken his words where he says it’s a man’s game where he’s talking about men’s football and found offence because you want to be offended.
‘You’re now talking about equality and women’s football where that wasn’t the subject.’
Simon Jordan, who was in the radio studio with Souness as he defended his comments, also backed the former Liverpool captain against the ‘completely unnecessary’ backlash.
He said: ‘I’ve seen some of the blow back going on with the social media activists getting at it. What an absolute load of nonsense.
‘How can a man describing a game, featuring men, can’t apparently use the word ‘man’ or ‘men’ in conjunction with a game that featured solely men? I mean, are we losing context here?
‘Are we getting into a situation where we should be saying, hang on a second here, “the Women’s Super League, that’s biased”. Are we getting into that territory because of that nature? It’s ridiculous.
‘Graeme made an observation about a game and made it in conjunction with what he’s watching. It’s lightweight activism. I’m seeing England football players from the female football team making a song out of this. I’m so disappointed by it because I think it’s completely unnecessary.
‘If you want to take anybody’s conversation out of context, misrepresent it back and turn it into something that it wasn’t, then that’s for you to do. But it doesn’t mean that people should be castigated.
Simon Jordan, who was in the TalkSport radio studio with Souness as he defended his comments, has also backed the Sky pundit
TV host Piers Morgan backed Souness in a tweet, pointing out: ‘We have all spent the past few weeks talking about ‘the women’s game”
‘It doesn’t mean that you need presenters on the show to say, ‘It’s a women’s game as well’. You don’t need it.’
In a tweet this morning, he added that the backlash was ‘soul sapping cancel culture’.
Asked if he regretted any of his comments, Souness said ‘not a word’.
Clarifying his remarks, he told Talksport: ‘We’ve got to be careful what we say, and I’ve not been very good at that, but we were becoming like other leagues.
‘The refs were blowing the whistle all the time, the game didn’t flow and it just wasn’t a very good watch. Our game has… always been more meaty, more in our face, more intense and we’ve got away from that.
‘Yesterday… I said we’ve got our game back. That’s the kind of football I remember playing. Our league will be better for it.’
Toby Young, founder of the Free Speech Union, today blasted the ‘faux outrage’ over the comments.
He told MailOnline: ‘It’s blindingly obvious what Graeme Souness meant. He meant the match between Tottenham and Chelsea was a tough, physical London derby.
‘He did not mean that football in general is a game that should only be played by men.
‘People are deliberately twisting his words so they can pretend to be offended to advertise how virtuous they are. Luckily, most people recognise this faux outrage for what it is – cheap political point scoring.’
Earlier, broadcasters also jumped to Souness’ defence.
Television host Piers Morgan said: ‘I’m outraged & disgusted that Graeme Souness used the words ‘man’s game’ when talking specifically about an incident in a man’s game played by two teams of men.
‘Especially when we’ve all spent the past few weeks talking about the “women’s game”.’
it comes after former England striker Aluko said: ‘Graeme Souness talking about ‘it’s a man’s game again’ sat next to an England centurion, Karen Carney, two weeks after the Lionesses end a 56-year wait and win European Championships.
‘Come on. It’s not okay.’
Her comments were echoed by current Lioness England, who added: ‘”It’s a man’s game”. “Men at it”. Get in the [bin emoji] what a disgraceful thing to say after the summer this country has just seen.’
Souness also issued a statement following the game via Sky Sports, adding: ‘To clarify my comments from yesterday, I was referring to the two Premier League matches I watched live on Sunday afternoon, rather than the sport of football. Football is a game for everyone to enjoy.’