Former Arsenal and England icon Ian Wright has took a stand of solidarity with his fellow pundit and MOTD host Gary Lineker, and has threatened to permanently quit Match of the Day if the BBC decide to sack the latter.
Lineker sparked controversy earlier this week when he compared the government’s new asylum policy to 1930s Germany.
This resulted to backlash from Conservatives, with some arguing that Lineker should be fired for violating the BBC’s impartiality regulations.
Lineker has refused to apologise and the BBC have since ‘taken him off air’ ahead of Saturday evening’s mainstay Premier League highlights programme, Match of the Day.
Many of Lineker’s co-workers have stood up with the presenter. On Friday evening, Ian Wright, Alan Shearer, Micah Richards, Jermaine Jenas and Alex Scott all announced that they would not make an appearance on Match of the Day this weekend.
They have been followed by BBC commentators, and Premier League players and managers are expected to refuse to be interviewed by the network following this weekend’s games.
With the chaos unravelling, Match of the Day will go on without a presenter or pundits, but it was revealed on Saturday morning that Football Focus and Final Score has been cancelled by the BBC, with host Jason Mohammed not willing to present the podcast.
Wright has now given a more explained response to the situation via his podcast, claiming he is “not staying” at the BBC if they “do get rid of Lineker”.
“That is the distraction and let me tell you something, if the BBC do get rid of Gary Lineker I am out. I am gone, I am not staying there. On his own platform, he should be able to say what he wants to say,” he said on his Wrighty’s House podcast.
“Gary Lineker, he says stuff on everything and it’s almost like this one has missed everybody simply because he says so much but this is so right what he is saying. I have spoken to Gary, I am behind him.
“He wrote a tweet about everything that has been happening with the human rights issues and everything here and it’s the perfect distraction for this government. Gary’s tweet was the headline news, it’s like they need Gary Lineker to distract everybody. For me, it is a human issue it’s not political.
“They have got no empathy, the most vulnerable ones are always the ones that suffer. They are the ones that suffer and it starts with words. Gary Lineker I think retweeted from a German professor, because the Hitler thing is what they all jumped on and everything like that but he retweeted saying that it all starts with language.
“It starts with words, they didn’t just start throwing people into concentration camps. It starts with words and language and what they are doing again is the culture war they want us to all have, left-versus-right: ‘Oh you’re woke, you’re woke’.”