The British Broadcasting Corporation after scoring an own goal in the Gary Linekar saga, quickly recovered by reinstating him as the Match of the Day presenter. Linekar, a couple of days back, was taken off air by the BBC temporarily for his critical comments on the British government’s immigration policy.
Gary Linekar is a much revered figure in the world of English football. After a glittering international and club career, he became a much sought after football pundit, presenting the BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’ programme.
His analysis of EPL matches that take place every week, with other analysts who are also usually former footballers, has a huge following.
In his scathing attack on the British Government’s move to prevent migrants illegally crossing the English Channel through small boats from applying for political asylum in the UK, Linekar had said “This is just an immeasurably cruel policy aimed at the most vulnerable people in a language not dissimilar to that used in Germany in the ’30s”.
BBC deemed his comments on Twitter as a “breach of our guidelines” and pulled him off the air, “until we’ve got an agreement and clear position on his use of social media.” This rather bizarre move by the BBC led to widespread protests within the organisation, with other football pundits (Alan Shearer and Ian Wright to name a couple) and other reporters pulling out expressing solidarity with Linekar. This led to massive disruption in the BBC’s sports programming. To prevent the controversy from spiraling, the BBC has now brought back Linekar.
But there’s little doubt that BBC’s image has taken a severe beating from which it will be hard to recover
The BBC has given both the Left and the Right a stick to beat it with. This is an own goal that the BBC could have avoided with a better defence.