BBC Gary Lineker: What Yorkshire Post readers had to say after the football host dropped from Match of The Day
Mr. Lineker will not present the show until he comes to an agreement with the BBC on his use of social media. The announcement comes days after Mr. Lineker compared the Conservative government’s new illegal immigration bill to “Germany in the 1930s”.
The broadcaster said it had “decided” Lineker would take a break from presenting the highlights programme until an “agreed and clear position” on his use of social media had been reached.
It has proven to be a contentious issue – with some agreeing with the decision and calling on Lineker to lose his job, while others have criticised the actions of the BBC. Some viewers said on Twitter that they have cancelled their TV licence fee in response.
Andy O'Donnell said: “I agree everyone has a right to opinion and free speech, however, if he has breached his contract then unfortunately as in any other job he has to go. The fact he is high profile and has already stated he will continue to air his views on Twitter leaves the BBC with no option but to show him the door and save £1.3million a year in wages. He certainly ain't worth that.”
Michael Pearson said: “I don't agree with his views but what he said wasn't on the BBC and they shouldn't have got involved in this. Plus it seems strange that suddenly they became involved or is this government trying to use the BBC to have a go at him.”
Steve Dixon said: “What a laugh. Lineker wrote something on his own personal Twitter account not mentioning his employers the BBC about something he does not broadcast about. He, like us, is entitled to his view and opinions. We live in a country where free speech is allowed. Whatever you think of his opinion that is just what it is – his opinion. To me this stinks of politicians putting pressure on the BBC to make him a scapegoat and deflect some of the bad press which the government and the governor are currently having to endure.”
Mark Lamont said: “There should be no issue to be discussed, he’s in breach of contract, he’s got previous for the same offence on two occasions and he surely had written warnings in place. Instant dismissal or the whole impartiality rule at the BBC falls like a pack of cards.”
Julie Kerwin said: “Bad things happen when good people say nothing. Since when are human beings‘political opinions’. The BBC seem to be as corrupt as the Government.”
Richard Smith said: “All well and good saying he should adhere to the terms of his contract. However, where was the impartiality when he and other presenters were positively encouraged to speak up by the BBC about Qatars poor human rights record whilst covering last year's World Cup?”
Nick Smith-Shefford said: “If he’s allowed to talk about human rights abuses in Qatar openly on the BBC, he should be allowed to talk about what he perceives to be human rights in his own country. You can’t have it both ways.”
Jill Mcmullon said: “Irrespective of whether you like him or agree with him he stuck to his principles.. more should do it.”
David Bowden said: “He broke the rules, doesn't matter if the rules are right or wrong. It also isn't relevant if Gary is right or wrong. It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out as if the BBC cave in, then it's a great weapon to use to take away the BBC license.”
Richard Nicholson said: “It’s a massive own goal by the BBC and the government, who have pressured them into this action. The BBC is a public service broadcaster, headed by a Tory grandee, and it’s supposed to be impartial. What relevance does a sports presenter’s Twitter account have to his work at the BBC? On Twitter, Lineker can get his opinions over to the man in the street, and that scares the government. His following on Twitter has increased by a million in a day. I wouldn’t want to be in charge of the BBC right now. This government only agrees with free speech when it agrees with them. Rather like Germany in the 1930’s.”
Rosanne Hayes said: “Maybe about time the BBC moves on like the rest of the world has. Unless you’re a political journalist maybe you should be able to say what you want on your personal social media. Like social media or not, it’s not going away. Maybe the BBC needs to look at it’s outdated self and stop trying to control people.”
Sharon Machen said: “He thought he was untouchable and wouldn’t be reprimanded, the smirk on his face when he was asked if he was worried about losing his job and he said no said it all! The look on his face the next day when he was suspended was markedly different. MOTD would get on fine without him and the solidarity from other presenters etc would soon wane if he gets sacked.”
Steve Bottomley said: “Surely if you sign a contract that states you must adhere to impartiality in line with BBC policy, you adhere to that contract don’t you? The fact he’s freelance is irrelevant. His paymaster is the BBC and he signed a contract with them. Just a view.”
Ian Mason said: “We all have to live by rules if we work somewhere. Unfortunately some people can't deal with that. Shame it's now involved a lot of other people that were probably impartial.”
Jacqui Martin said: “Strip away the fact he is Gary Lineker and at it base is fact an employee (admittedly freelance but contracted) is under contract by an employer who have an impartiality clause for their staff. Most public employers have social media policies and if you breach it you run risk of getting into hot water! Where TV personalities / sports/ pop stars are concerned their potential for influence and reach is even greater which is why the impartiality clause is there.
"While He quite rightly has the right to his own opinions when he airs them on social media if it breaches the clause then there are repercussions so the responsibility is on the person.
“The BBC have been accused of being to right wing and too left wing by their actions in removing people who have used social media to air views suggesting they are actually trying very hard to stick to impartiality and I never thought I would say that!”