Gary Lineker deletes tweet about Chloe Kelly’s sports bra celebration

Chloe Kelly sports bra celebration: USA legend Brandi Chastain salutes England hero - GETTY IMAGES

Chloe Kelly sports bra celebration: USA legend Brandi Chastain salutes England hero – GETTY IMAGES

Gary Lineker has deleted a tweet amid backlash over a “misogynistic” pun he made in celebration of Chloe Kelly’s goal after she scored the winner in the women’s Euro 2022 final.

Kelly took off her shirt after scoring England’s second goal in extra time, leaving with team-mates to jubilant scenes at a packed Wembley.

However, Lineker faced accusations of “casual sexism” after posting a comment on Sunday night that “Kelly is England’s heroine, bra none”.

He deleted the message after it sparked hundreds of crude jokes in the replies, as well as criticism from those who were offended. One Twitter user responded: “Seriously Gary? An epic win, a game changer for women’s sport, a call to arms for young girls who have been told they can’t. And you minimize that glory to a womenswear joke / Underwear. Casual sexism is rampant here and @Lions deserve better.”

Screenshots of the message continued to circulate on Monday. “Now the deleted but misogynist screenshots are forever and ever,” wrote one feminist activist. The BBC presenter’s full message read: “The @Lions just went and did it, and Kelly is England’s hero bra.”

Lineker later refused to apologize for the message in an exchange with a campaigner. Karen Ingala Smith, chief executive of the anti-violence against women charity Nia, had messaged him: “Please apologize and condemn the sexist responses to your now-deleted ill-judged tweet.” Lineker replied: “It was just a pun given the celebration. I do rubbish like that all the time here, including men’s football. I’ve deleted it as not many people saw the game so it lacked substance.”

“Enjoy Free Pints”

Among those enjoying Kelly’s celebration was Brandi Chastain, the United States World Cup winner who rose to fame with a similar celebration more than 20 years ago. Chastain tweeted:

Chastain provided one of the most iconic moments in women’s soccer when she celebrated the USA’s 1999 World Cup final victory against China in a black sports bra. The celebration became so famous that it has since been commemorated on a statue outside California’s Rose Bowl Stadium.

United States' Brandi Chastain celebrates after kicking the winning penalty in overtime - AP

United States’ Brandi Chastain celebrates after kicking the winning penalty in overtime – AP

Kelly’s big moment came in the 110th minute, converting from close range after England kept the ball alive from a corner. There was an anxious wait while Var checked whether Kelly was offside or not in the six-yard box, before confirmation that the goal would stand sent the fans into raptures.

Kelly was shown a yellow card by referee Kateryna Monzul under Law 12, which considers a player taking off his shirt after scoring as excessive celebration.

England striker Chloe Kelly celebrates after scoring her team's second goal - AFP

England striker Chloe Kelly celebrates after scoring her team’s second goal – AFP

Speaking after the match, Kelly said her celebration was instinctive.

“I just went in psyched,” he said. “Honestly, I didn’t know what to do! But I think it was an amazing celebration because — what a tournament! I didn’t think about it. I didn’t plan it. It was all right, wasn’t it?”

Many fans on social media were quick to applaud the significance of Kelly’s celebration.

Kelly’s emergence as the hero of the European Championship final is all the more remarkable for the fact that she only returned from a serious cruciate injury in April.

Interviewed on the field after the game, Kelly said: “It’s amazing, thank you all, it’s what dreams are made of, as a young lady watching women’s football. Wow, that’s unbelievable.”

He added: “Thank you for everyone who played a part in my recovery. I always thought I would be here, but to be here and score the winner, wow. These girls are amazing. This is amazing, I just want to celebrate now .”

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