British public service broadcaster, the BBC, has found itself in a deep crisis after the corporation suspended celebrated football presenter, Gary Linekar, for comparing the language used in the Rishi Sunak government’s immigration policy with the 1930s Nazi Germany. What worsened the situation for the BBC was the decision to boycott the flagship show, Match Of The Day, by former footballers, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright.
Linekar in his tweet had slammed the Conservative government headed by Sunak for using Nazi Germany-like languages in its latest policy on immigration. Linekar, a former legendary English footballer, had come under sharp attack from the UK’s right-wing media and Conservative politicians.
Within days of his tweet criticising the Sunak government’s immigration policy, the BBC announced that the former footballer had been told to step back from his presenter’s role. Other media reports claimed that the BBC’s decision to remove Linekar from presenting the Match Of The Day programme was taken after he did not agree to not posting tweets criticial of the government in the future.
In his original tweet, Lineker had commented on a video of British Home Secretary (Home Minister) Suella Braverman unveiling the government’s plans to stop migrants crossing the English Channel on small boats and saying the UK is being ‘overwhelmed.’
He wrote in his tweet, “There is no huge influx. We take far fewer refugees than other major European countries. 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.”
Earlier, Linekar had said that he would present his Saturday show until the BBC announced that he was being removed from his role.
The BBC’s decision did not go down well with a majority of British social media users as Twitter exploded with meme fest.
Shearer soon tweeted saying that he had decided to boycott Saturday’s programme in ‘solidarity’ with Linekar. He tweeted, “I have informed the BBC that I won’t be appearing on MOTD tomorrow night.”
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.”
This is how social media users reacted:
The BBC is censoring Gary Linekar and David Attenborough for fear a tweet and programme about rewilding undermines their impartiality, but standing by a Chair who parliament itself has said hasn’t told them the whole truth about his loans to Boris.
Funny old world isn’t it..
— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) March 10, 2023
We all know that if Gary Lineker had put out a tweet praising the government’s ‘small boats’ policy, Match of the Day would still have a host tomorrow.
We all know it.
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) March 10, 2023
Been on air with the one show. I wasn’t down to be doing match of the day tomorrow, but if I was I would of said no and stood with my fellow pundits and @GaryLineker
— Jermaine Jenas (@jjenas8) March 10, 2023
— Munya Chawawa (@munyachawawa) March 10, 2023
David Attenborough should do Match of the Day and talk only about global warming.
— Chris Daw KC (@crimlawuk) March 10, 2023
— Peter Lloyd (@Suffragent_) March 10, 2023
Match Of The Day programme, which is presented on BBC One on Saturdays during the football season, shows the highlights of the Premier League matches with expert commentaries by Linekar, Shearer and Wright.