Simon Jordan has told Gary Lineker he shouldn’t apologise to the BBC and he ‘admires’ the Match of the Day presenter for sticking to his beliefs.
The BBC are facing a backlash after deciding to stand Lineker down from the show he has anchored since 1999 over his Twitter posts criticising the government.
Lineker will not be presenting Match of the Day on Saturday night
Lineker recently hit back at the UK government’s new asylum policy where he compared the language of the bill to 1930s Germany.
It has led to the BBC to temporarily remove the 62-year-old from his presenting role, with regular pundits Ian Wright and Alan Shearer subsequently standing down.
And in the wake of Alex Scott, Micah Richards and Jermaine Jenas also ruling themselves out of appearing, the BBC have since stated Match of the Day on Saturday will have no studio presenters or pundits.
Football Focus has also been axed from Saturday’s schedule after award-winning host Scott announced she would not present it this weekend, while it is understood the Final Score round-up show is also at risk.
talkSPORT’s Darren Bent has slammed the BBC over their decision, as the former Premier League striker insisted Lineker has been the victim of ‘cancel culture’.
His fellow talkSPORT host Jordan is of the opinion that the BBC had no option in their choice, but praised Lineker for showing courage in not backing down over his views.
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The ex-Crystal Palace owner has urged Lineker not to back down, although he admits the ex-England star must face the consequences.
However, Jordan was less than complimentary about Arsenal legend Wright after he announced he was stepping down in ‘solidarity’ – branding him a ‘virtue signalling nitwit’ on social media.
Speaking on Drivetime, he said: “He [Lineker] shouldn’t apologise, because he either means it or he doesn’t, does he? He can’t have the courage in his convictions and have no skin in the game.
“Too many times in football people stand up to something and when it means any sacrifice, they stand down.
“We saw that nonsense at the World Cup when people wanted to wear armbands until it affected them.
“So here we are, Lineker has said what he meant, he meant what he says, so by definition he’s prepared to fall on his sword.”
The Match of the Day studio will look very different this weekend
Pressed on whether there is any pressure from Lineker’s BBC colleagues to show their support to Lineker, Jordan remarked: “None whatsoever, if they subscribe to the same view as Gary Lineker, then they are entitled to have their view on it.
“The BBC have very clear policies, if you want to make it a divisible line and you want to stand in solidarity in something that you all believe, that’s up to them.
“The other guys that want to do it, they shouldn’t be vilified, people in this country have very different views, Lineker has his, and the consequences of his are, that he’s fallen foul of a very, clear policy.”
He added: “No one is making Gary Lineker a victim, Gary Lineker has pointed out some very unfortunate, very clumsy language relating to something that offends not only people’s sensitivity from a certain persuasion, but also makes political commentary.
Responding to news of Wright’s decision to boycott Match of the Day, Jordan had this to say…
“Listen, if he wants to be a martyr for his own cause, I admire him for it.
“If he’s so convinced and so committed to the cause of making his opinion prevalent and expressing his views and using his influence, then he will take the relevant consequences.
“Most of the people in and around this industry have that sort of courage and conviction so I imagine he will realign himself with the guidelines that the BBC put in place.
“If he doesn’t, he will go up in my estimations because he will take the consequences of refusing to realign himself.
Lineker has presented Match of the Day since 1999
“All we’ve got at this moment in time, is a step back, Lineker’s positioning himself, ‘I won’t be told what to do, I’ve got freedom of speech’.
“We’ve all got freedom of speech, everyone’s got a freedom of speech, but it doesn’t come without freedom of consequence does it?”
Asked whether he agrees with Lineker’s views as well as the BBC’s decision, Jordan stated: “Yes I do. It’s his view, he is entitled to his view, no one has the right not to be offended, he has a view.
“If that’s his view, I don’t particularly concur with it, I don’t think it’s particularly constructive, we are also talking about a BBC that speaks of hypocrisy.
“But not withstanding that, I think the BBC because they’ve been used as a political football from both sides, have got to stand their ground.
“And if Lineker believes in what he’s saying, how can he not stand his ground?”
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Lineker hit out at the UK government on social media
He continued: “I don’t think the BBC particularly want to sanction Gary Lineker.
“I think they’ve been forced into it by very pressurised media and political aspirations from various sanctions.
“I would expect that they would find some accord, I don’t expect him to apologise, I don’t expect him to have to apologise.
“I expect him to sort of cease and desist with this going forward, and if he can’t and if he won’t, then and only then will the BBC have to solidify their position.”
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