Arsenal legend Ian Wright and Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer have shown their support for Gary Lineker by refusing to appear on the BBC’s Match of the Day show after Lineker was suspended by the organization.
The incident took place after Lineker made a comment criticizing the UK government’s asylum policies. After Lineker’s removal from the show, Wright and Shearer both took to social media to show solidarity with the 62-year-old.
Arsenal great Wright tweeted:
“Everybody knows what Match of the Day means to me, but I’ve told the BBC I won’t be doing it tomorrow. Solidarity.”
Shearer refused to participate in the program as well, tweeting:
“I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night.”
The BBC had released a statement about Gary Lineker that read (via The Guardian):
“The BBC has been in extensive discussions with Gary and his team in recent days. We have said that we consider his recent social media activity to be a breach of our guidelines. The BBC has decided that he will step back from presenting Match of the Day until we’ve got an agreed and clear position on his use of social media.”
It further said:
“When it comes to leading our football and sports coverage, Gary is second to none. We have never said that Gary should be an opinion-free zone, or that he can’t have a view on issues that matter to him, but we have said that he should keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies.”
Lineker has been hosting the MOTD show since 1999.
Gary Lineker thanked fans for support amidst the controversy
Amidst the backlash for his comments, Gary Lineker thanked fans for their support on March 9 and claimed that he is looking forward to getting back to the MOTD show.
The former England striker tweeted:
“Well, it’s been an interesting couple of days. Happy that this ridiculously out of proportion story seems to be abating and very much looking forward to presenting @BBCMOTD on Saturday. Thanks again for all your incredible support. It’s been overwhelming.”
The situation has since taken an unexpected turn with the BBC’s decision to suspend Lineker.
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