Knight of the Twitter Realm
Photo: Katie Chan, CC by SA 4.0
Like a gas leak in contact with a naked flame, Twitter and Leon Knight is a volatile combination that will always cause damage.
Over the years the journeyman striker has courted controversy and invited criticism for his ill-advised, prejudiced tweets.
The hot water Knight has often found himself in is warmed by the heat of his divisive comments.
In 2012 he caused outrage for comments made about gay people.
Reacting to Barack Obama’s stance on gay marriage, Knight said: “Each to their own but I don’t know how a man can be gay …. When there is so much pum pum out there!! Why not just anal a girl!!”
As the backlash began, the former Brighton & Hove Albion frontman proved that his wit was sharper than his eye for goal ever was by saying: '‘The fruits are coming at me. I ain’t turning my back on you lot. I’ll slowly walk backwards.'’
In light of his homophobic outburst Knight was suspended by Northern Irish side Glentoran, a club he'd signed for after being blocked from playing in England by Rushden and Diamonds. After sacking him for misconduct, the Northamptonshire-based outfit had refused to give up his registration.
Knight reacted to the Rushden and Diamonds debacle in the only way he knows how, a good old-fashioned Twitter rant.
He accused the club of ruining his life and trying to finish him in 2010. Ironically, a year later, it was Rushden which was finished having wound up over debts amounting to £750,000.
Knight's beef with Jamie O’Hara was well documented, too.
During the same year in which he expressed his views on homosexuality, Knight called Danielle Lloyd, the mother of O’Hara’s children, a number of colourful names while hinting heavily at a promiscuous past.
Also in 2012, a very busy year for Knight, he found trouble for his Slag Alert Pictures (#SAP) project.
Knight posted lewd images of women from his Twitter account. He asked men to send in compromising pictures of ex-partners in order to shame them on the platform. The intention was, to put it as Leon did in his own imitable prose, to ‘expose hoes.’
Would it be fair to call Leon Knight a misogynist? If someone does choose to describe him in that way he shouldn't mind, such is his advocacy of free speech.
If you’re still trying to decide if Knight’s attacks on women are merely anomalies in an otherwise charming demeanour, then it might be worth taking a look at his comments on ex-England international Alex Scott.
The former Arsenal striker rubbed Leon up the wrong way by daring to offer her insight on England’s game against Switzerland in September.
As is customary, Knight took to Twitter to voice his displeasure.
‘'I DONT WANNA SEE ANOTHER WOMAN TALKING FOOTBALL IN DETAIL ON SKY SPORTS OR BT SPORT. F*** OFF!’' (the capital letters were his own doing).
“Look at the guys in the studio when these chicks start talking .... just look at the ex-players faces LOOK AT THEIR EXPRESSIONS, It’s a sham. This equal rights bull has to stop we are nowhere near equal. Just like we can’t give birth u lot can’t kick or talk ball.''
More recently Knight was at it again, this time turning his satirical eye on Kelly Smith, who was also trying her hand at a spot of punditry for Sky Sports.
Not one to spurn an opportunity to demonstrate his misogyny, the ex-Chelsea trainee posted a video of Smith struggling to convey one particular passage of play during Real Madrid’s 5-0 victory over Viktoria Plzen last week.
It’s true that Smith’s attempt to retell the tale of a Plzen attack was not the most accomplished. She could rightly be criticised for fluffing her lines on that particular occasion.
However, Knight's intention was not to show this incident in isolation, it was to reinforce his view that women shouldn't be allowed anywhere near football.
When someone highlighted Smith's footballing credentials – specifically that she is England’s all-time top scorer with 43 goals in 117 appearances – Knight tweeted perhaps his most vulgar offering yet.
‘'She could have a cash machine with endless cash up her fanny I ain’t arsed she’s a shit pundit.'’
With scintillating observations like that, perhaps he could do a better job as a pundit.
Knight clearly enjoys being divisive on Twitter. In that, he's similar to Piers Morgan.
The big difference is whereas Morgan tweets his tripe to 6.5 million people, Knight's following is a meagre 50,000 guffawing fools. He is desperate to be heard, but, thankfully, relatively few people want to listen.