Arsenal legend Ian Wright gives BBC stark ultimatum if Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker is sacked
Arsenal icon Ian Wright joined Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer among other colleagues in walking out from Match of the Day after BBC bosses suspended host Gary Lineker over a tweet criticising the UK government.
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Ian Wright has given BBC bosses a stark ultimatum amid the saga following Gary Lineker’s suspension from the broadcaster. The former Arsenal and Crystal Palace footballer said on an episode of his Wrighty’s House podcast that he is “out” and “gone” if the Match of the Day presenter loses his job.
Lineker has been given a leave of absence by the BBC after he posted a tweet criticising the government’s recently announced Illegal Migration Bill. His colleagues, including pundits Ian Wright and Alan Shearer, have decided to boycott Match of the Day this weekend to show solidarity.
The 62-year-old’s contentious tweet, regarding a new government policy to tackle migrant ‘small boats’, said: “This is just an immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the ‘30s, and I’m out of order?”
In an episode of Ian Wright’s podcast, which aired on Friday before Lineker’s suspension from the BBC was announced, he threatened to quit his job as a Match of the Day pundit in the event Lineker is sacked. He also described the controversy as “the perfect distraction” for the government.
Ian Wright said: “I’ll tell you something. If they do – the BBC get rid of Gary Lineker – I’m out, I’m gone. I’m not staying there. On his own platform he should be able to say what he wants to say.
“He wrote a tweet criticising the Government about everything that’s happening, the human rights issues and everything here and it’s the perfect distraction for this Government, man. Gary’s tweet was the headline news, bro.
“They need Gary Lineker to distract everybody because for me it is a human issue, it’s not political. They’ve got no empathy. The most vulnerable ones are always the ones that suffer, they’re the ones that suffer and it starts with words.”
Saturday night’s episode of Match of the Day will go ahead focusing on the action without a presenter, pundits and series regular commentators. It airs at 10.30pm on BBC one, but Premier League highlights are still available through many other different channels.
How to listen to Lineker & Baker: Behind Closed Doors podcast
Ian Wright is not the only Match of the Day representative with a podcast, as Gary Lineker has one of his own alongside popular comedian David Baker. It is titled Lineker & Baker: Behind Closed Doors and comes under the Goalhanger Podcasts umbrella.