When the boss of the Premier League walks away unscathed and with his job in tact, after sending misogynistic emails, passed off as "banter", it send a very clear message out to everyone else.
This message is: "Hey, we are the Premier League, and we don't mind if you're sexist! Honestly, it's absolutely fine! Yeah we want a bit of gender equality, but really it's fine to objectify women and tell 'em that their bimbo heads have no place in football."
|Leon Knight riles twitter users|
Richard Scudamore is the peak of the Premier League mountain, and as we move towards the bottom of the mountain, we hike past directors, board members, the media and players.
We see the likes of Leon Knight reading the Premier League's message, and just days before the World Cup, deciding to boot equality right in the testicles with a spoonful of misogyny.
Knight has a murky past as it is. He had his twitter suspended after he created the hash-tag #SAP, where he encouraged men to send intimate pictures of their ex-girlfriends to him. SAP creatively stands for "slag alert pictures".
Women across the country were shocked, as Knight tweeted the following: "World Cup is here. I don't wanna hear no girls going into detail about this tournament tbh." Unfortunately he did not realise that he was guilty of a double negative.
He then went on to post a picture of a fake contract, which tarnished the images of both the FIFA logo, and the official World Cup Brasil logo. The contract encompassed 10 'rules' which suggested that women know nothing about football, and that they are slaves to their football loving husbands during International tournaments.
After backlash from women and men, he then tweeted a picture of one of his female respondents wearing a bikini in Rio with the comment: "This girl said she knows more than me about football cos she's in rio, oi you and your shit bikini and phone can do 1."
The former footballer spiraled into a misogynistic rage, stating: "To all the Girls that are kicking off, Was u kicking ball 20 years ago. did u know the offside rule 10 years ago. Argument done", before alleging that the girl in the photo he had previously tweeted was a transsexual.
He continued: "Blocked every girl chatting about football, I aint got time for it. U got ur little domestic league now be calm when MEN are playing."
After being accused of sexism he tweeted: "People are saying I cant tweet that, saying its sexiest, WELL GOD DAMN, lemme just make this clear, GIRLS DONT KNOW SHIT ABOUT FOOTBALL."
His string of sexism continued on Thursday morning by tweeting another photo of a girl who protested at his tweets, and called her a "simple bitch", before finishing by asking his followers to 'FAV if u think girls know things about football. RT IF U THINK THEY DONT KNOW SHIT!!".
This is what happens when people in positions of power go unpunished after sending sexist emails. It tells people that it's OK, and that it's OK to do it on a public platform, it's OK to be publicly misogynistic even when your twitter page is associated with an online magazine run by Rio Ferdinand.
When women make up nearly half of all football fans, does society still really believe that women have no place in football? Different genitalia does not mean that women do not understand, cannot understand, or will not choose to understand our national game.
It is shocking and disappointing that in the same week as the most elite footballing competition kicks off, gender equality in football is kicked back. Not only have women been objectified, discriminated against, and degraded on Leon Knights twitter page, but have been underestimated by British media.
Only one female journalist has been sent to report on the World Cup, out of 20 National newspapers. While some female broadcast journalists have been sent out, their number is few in comparison to the amount of male sports journalists.
The Guardian's respected Amy Lawrence is funding her own trip to Brazil to freelance out there, while her newspaper chose to send a female fashion reporter alongside the other, all male, sports journalists heading out.
What is even more frustrating is that the repercussions of the FA and the Premier League's decision to not punish Scudamore, will extend far further than the likes of a retired footballers twitter page. What is concerning, is that by ignoring the blatant sexism, people are becoming completely normalised to misogyny in the football industry.
I was told countless times last night that I should not be surprised at Leon Knights tweets. Well do you know what? I AM surprised. I AM shocked. I am utterly confused at how someone can genuinely believe that they are superior to another because they have a penis instead of a vagina.
What is worse, is that as soon as misogyny stops surprising people, that is the end of all hope for equality. When we accept misogyny as a part of life and society that we can deal with, we may as well give in.
The normalisation of sexism means that we are taking one step forward and 99 steps back right now. The FA have accepted it, the Premier League have accepted it, even other women said that Scudamore was not wrong to say what he did.
I love football, I love writing about football, and there is nothing more I want to do than work in football. But right now, I am absolutely disgusted with football. I am repulsed by the elitist, patriarchal, chauvinistic ideology of male supremacy which surrounds our "beautiful" game.
Because the game isn't beautiful any more. It's uglier than anything I've seen before.