Gary Lineker has narrowly escaped a sacking at the hands of his employer, following an overwhelming outpouring of support from social media followers, colleagues, and survivors of the Holocaust. It all happened rather quickly, after the former England striker and star presenter of Match of the Day criticised the British government’s recently announced clampdown on small boat asylum seekers. 
So what did Lineker actually say, and why did the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) respond with such venom against its highest-paid presenter? 
On 7 March, the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, released a deeply inflammatory video message pertaining to increased patrols and new policies aimed at stamping out small boat crossings via the English Channel. 
In response on the same day, Lineker quote tweeted the original post and said,
“Good heavens, this is beyond awful.” 
When another person criticised him for his response, the former Barcelona player stated,
“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, and I’m out of order?” 
What followed was a barrage of condemnation from various Conservative Members of Parliament, television personalities, and even subtle criticism from the Labour party.
Indeed, a spokesperson for Sir Keir Starmer suggested that references to 1930s Germany “aren’t always the best way to make” a point. 
Despite speculation that Lineker might be fired after the BBC suspended him from Match of the Day duties on 10 March, it was revealed yesterday that he would resume his hosting duties. In addition, social media guidelines are to be further revised from their already stringent formulation.
Good heavens, this is beyond awful. https://t.co/f0fTgWXBwp— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 7, 2023
Criticise the bisht, not British government
As the 2022 World Cup winners were announced, Lionel Messi was gifted with a bisht – an item of clothing reserved only for those of the highest of statuses.
Indeed, Shaykh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani – the Qatari emir – was himself adorned in a bisht, while Messi was given the trophy and cloak.
This did not stop Gary Lineker from snidely remarking,
“…a shame in a way that they’ve covered up Messi in his Argentina shirt, just why? No reason to do that.” 
Such a shame to cover that shirt with the suit jacket… https://t.co/JcSoGEuTzb— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) December 19, 2022
BBC using pick-and-mix approach
Prior to the World Cup final, Lineker and the BBC had employed multiple below-the-waist tactics.
In deciding that it was not worth airing the opening ceremony, and focusing instead on human rights abuses and the widespread use of migrant workers in preparing the various stadia, the corporation and Lineker made it their ultimate goal to disparage the Qatari hosts.
So why is it that a freelancer who works for the BBC is free to criticise a foreign country, but unable to criticise his or her own government? In a democratic system, this is arguably anything but fair.
- Prince Messi in the Scandalous Bisht
- Qatar stands tall against the Rotten Tree
- Why British Muslims are standing with Qatar
- In regards to the Qatar World Cup, why the duplicity?