Piers Morgan leads inevitable backlash to Mary Earps winning Sports Personality of the Year

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Mary Earps winning Sports Personality of the Year has resulted in a wave of misogynistic abuse towards the Lioness goalkeeper and her much-deserved win.

On Tuesday evening (19 December), England and Manchester United star Earps, 30, was named winner of the prestigious award, making her the third woman in a row to take home the title following fellow Lioness Beth Mead in 2022 and tennis player Emma Raducanu in 2021.

During the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Earps conceded just four goals and was pivotal to the Lionesses making the final against Spain, bagging the Golden Glove in the process. Last month, Earps was also named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year and earlier in the year was named England player of the year and took home of the Golden Glove for the 2022/23 domestic season.

“It feels pretty great off the back of a couple of really big years and 2023 has been wild in ways I couldn’t expect,” the goalie said as she picked up her award. “I’m really, really grateful.”

Mary Earps went on to say she would “not be here without my team-mates” at both national and club level because “we’ve achieved some incredible things over the last couple of years.”

“While individual accolades are great, they only come after team success. This is their trophy just as much as mine,” she continued.

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Mary Earps of England receives the Golden Glove Award following the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Final match between Spain and England at Stadium Australia on August 20, 2023 in Sydney / Gadigal, Australia. (Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

However, sadly as is the territory when you are a woman in the spotlight, Earps’ win unleashed a wave of misogynistic abuse on social media from men questioning her worth and playing record, as well as expressing their outrage that a public vote would result in a woman winning.

Taking to social media, controversial broadcaster Piers Morgan wrote: “No offence to Ms Earps, but shouldn’t it have been given to someone who actually won something in 2023?”

A number of Twitter/X users responded that the accolade is not actually based on how much a person has won during the course of the year but rather “goes to the sportsperson whose sporting actions have most captured the UK public’s imagination during 2023,” according the the BBC’s own terms and conditions.

He then later added: “Trying to get my head around two of England’s women footballers winning BBC SPOTY in successive years… while male sporting superstars with great personalities like Rory McIlroy, Frankie Dettori & Ronnie O’Sullivan have never won it.”

Talk TV’s Kevin O’Sullivan claimed it has “an abyss of wokery so only women can win” as Mary Earps, Mead and Raducanu have won one after the other, ignoring the fact that prior to Raducanu’s win in 2021 the last woman to have won the title was 15 years earlier, in 2004.

Football manager and former player Joey Barton, who has stoked controversy for his comments on social media, bizarrely congratulated Earps before going on a rant about her winning saying he believes it is “madness” Earps won over Ronnie O’Sullivan and Frankie Dettori.

“They’ve lost to a big sack of spuds that plays in goal for a girls team,” he wrote in a ranting post. “That’s the world we live in. This all started with the ‘Everyone’s a Winner’ sport’s days. This is what happens when you celebrate mediocre. You breed this weak culture. A culture of losers. A culture of snowflakes.”

Gary Lineker, Clare Balding, Gabby Logan and Alex Scott presented the 70th edition of the annual awards, broadcast live from MediaCityUK in Salford.