The Lineker debate – What has happened to free speech on the BBC (and Just Arsenal)?

This Saturday when fans tune in to Match Of The Day, which many have done since their childhood, Gary Lineker will not be one of the presenters.

He won’t be for the foreseeable future, at least it seems until he and the BBC reach ‘an agreed and clear position on social media.’

BBC feel that a tweet by Lineker breached company guidelines, when he described the Tory Party’s wish to send illegal immigrants to places like Rwanda as an “immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.

It’s believed that Lineker’s legal stance is he’s employed on a freelance basis so hasn’t breached any contract, and that he stated his opinion in his free time on his own platform not live on TV while being paid to talk about football.

Let me stress none of what I write is my own political view point but I do believe in free speech, and can notice when those  in power are manipulating the system to silence opposition voices.

For example, Lineker’s employers (the BBC) position in March 2023 is that he should “keep well away from taking sides on party political issues or political controversies”.

Yet this is the same broadcaster who as recently as December asked the very same man to kick off their coverage of the World Cup with a monologue of why Qatar shouldn’t be hosting such an event.

A monologue I agree with by the way, but you can’t pick and choose. You can’t tell an audience all about  a country’s human rights record, but then be opposed to the same employee posting his views on his own social media account on his day off.

If he had Tweeted something in favour of the UK government he would be working this weekend.

Funny how the BBC didn’t mind one of their own ‘taking sides on political issues’ when he supported Ukraine and condemned Russia?

So in other words, he can post whatever he wants as long as it suits the BBC agenda? That agenda being the BBC not wanting to upset number 10 Downing Street.

Because that’s what’s happening to free speech.

Having wrote for JustArsenal for years I have seen a change in how even an ‘opinion’ fan site operates.

It’s okay to be negative about Xhaka but not Nketiah.

I know the same readers who verbally abused me for defending Mr Wenger when ‘he only finished 4th’ who then called 8th and 5th progress.

This very week I clearly offended readers by claiming that Bernd Leno made too made errors for us.

‘Mean’ I was called, and yet when I asked for an example of what I wrote was mean …I was called names of course ….. but not one example, not one quote of what offended them so much….. I still wait!

What had I done to offend that person’s sensibilities?

I said I didn’t think we make the top 4 last season and had regressed since Mr Wenger left.

These people then said it’s rude that I expressed an opinion that Bernd  Leno wasn’t very good!

The irony…

That sums up free speech does it? It’s okay as long as you’re saying it and everyone agrees with you.

That’s not the readers’ fault. It’s a reflection on society. You don’t like what you read or hear …. then cancel him or her and start the insults.

No longer can we have a healthy debate which once was crucial in educating people.

I remember earlier is the season, one of the comments essentially asked JustArsenal to only submit positive articles.

Say that out loud …

Before this campaign, Arsenal were having their lowest League finish in a quarter of a century, didn’t have European Football for the first time in decades, thousands were protesting against the owners ….. but this fan only wanted to read that everything was rainbows and unicorns.

He couldn’t handle a healthy debate with something as trivial as football.

Of course I’m not Gary Lineker …..I don’t have millions reading my content.

That’s why he’s a threat to those in power. Whether as a former footballer or pundit, he’s respected. Those in charge don’t like the idea of someone highly thought of able to share his thought process to millions around the world within seconds.

An established journalist might not have that many subscribers, so can be threatened with their job to stay in line.

The 62 year old is the exception to the rule in many ways; how many people in the public eye are there with seven figure subscribers brave enough to say what he has said?

Those who write in the Papers. No.

Those who debate on podcasts. No.

Most who agree with Mr Lineker don’t have the audience he has, or if they do, can be scared to be silent.

Mr Lineker could get a job elsewhere, not that he ever has to work a day in his life.

For our Prime Minister and MP’s it’s a nightmare that one of the faces of presenting the national game is openly critiquing plans.

Ian Wright and Alan Shearer have both now informed their bosses at the BBC that they won’t be at work this Saturday.

While their stance is ‘solidarity’ for their co-worker, it further promotes and shares Lineker’s opinion around the world.

The irony being; if the Government didn’t want Lineker using his position to influence followers they would have been better served by NOT making such a fuss about one tweet.

If it had been ignored it wouldn’t have made any headlines.

When Marcus Rashford challenged parliament on food poverty he got an MBE.

Because the narrative doesn’t suit, Mr Lineker is told to only talk about football.

I don’t know enough about immigration to discuss the topic in question. But I do believe in free speech though.

For that, I thank Mr Lineker for showing the BBC the red card.


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  1. Fair play to anyone who speaks up these days as its not easy when cancel culture will shoot down anything they don’t want addressed.
    l know nothing of the tweet or what it’s about but i do know when people can’t say how they feel we’re going in the wrong direction.
    My respect for Gary has gone up so much for this and the rest who stand by him.

  2. The BBC made problems for themselves as soon as they started allowing their presenters to work elsewhere – that was probably 30 years ago now.

    I think he’s probably in technical breach but its only news because of the pressure being applied by the government on a public broadcaster (whose chairman loaned money to Boris and whose ceo is a former tory candidate).

    That wider issue is the bigger picture and should be a concern for us all unless we want to have a Russian-style ‘public’ broadcaster.

    A highlight in the coverage though was when a professor admonished Gary for stating his partial views when it was clear how much pressure the bbc was under from the current government (the professor didn’t see the irony in his argument) and that Gary should remember that he owes Leicester City and the BBC everything for his career……

  3. If Lineker feels he never breached any clauses of his freelancing contract with BBC, he could sue them

  4. I am a little tired of the hypocrisy surrounding all this. The first thing to say is that freedom of speech is absolute; you either have it or you don’t there is no half way. I love Ian Wright; he has a passion and an obvious love for Arsenal and so he’s great in my books, however. . . . Ian Wright only came out in support of Gary Lineker because he agrees with him. It had nothing to do with freedom of thought and expression, journalistic integrity, or Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s interpretation of Voltaire’s timeless wisdom; Wrighty supports Lineker because he agrees with what Lineker said about the parallels with 1930s Germany. I don’t agree with him, because Lineker’s comments showed an incredible ignorance of history, but I do, however, agree with his right to voice an opinion. Let Ian Wright come out in support of John Terry’s use of the ‘N-word and then I will say that he’s supporting free speech. Oh, I hear you say; that’s ‘hate speech’. What utter nonsense. The only reason that we have a category called that is to allow minorities to dictate to the majority, and if you don’t agree with that tell me why it is ‘hate speech’ to reduce Pakistani to Paki, but not to reduce British to Brit? It’s all about hypocrisy not freedom of speech; we lost that many years ago and this is just another yard on that slippery slope.

    1. Unfortunately, your premise is faulty as it is not universally accepted that freedom of speech is absolute. Your position is that of an absolutist.
      Some of the examples you cite also demonstrate a lack of perspective. There is generally a huge difference in the contexts in which people are referred to as “Brits” or “P…”. Your comments indicate a great deal of ignorance or lack of insight.

      1. David, what you refer to as context is in reality fashion; what was fashionable some years ago no longer is, but may well be again; it is as cyclical as trouser width, and please don’t label me with fascile terminology. Absolute freedom is not up for debate; one is either free or one is not, there are no percentiles of freedom and its interpretation bears no relationship to latter-day schools of philosophy or esoteric boy’s clubs. Now, I have put my two-pennyworth in and corrected your insults. I shall not be commenting further.

        1. I am afraid your response simply reinforces my points. “Absolute” freedom is indeed up for debate. There is a reason why you can be arrested for inciting violence and for stirring certain forms of hate.
          It is only absolutists who believe that everyone should be free to say whatever they like whatever the situation.
          There is nothing fashionable about being a young person of Asian origin having people who don’t know you call you “P….” on the street. From the perspective of the absolutist, those calling out in this way are free to do so however hurtful it may be to the recipient.

          1. Fully agree, David. Very few people on this planet believe in unmitigated freedom of speech. The debate has always been about how to circumscribe its limits. For example, John Stuart Mill’s harm principle, in which government intervention should only be permitted if it is to prevent harm, but defining harm is no easy task. Is offence a form of psychological harm? What about indirect harm? What if harm is entirely unintentional? These exact questions apply to freedom of speech. It is not as black and white as you make out. Things rarely are.

            It’s also quite an inferential leap to assume Wrighty and others’ decision to follow Lineker is due to political ideology rather than freedom of speech. It could be inferred that your inference is due to your own stance on the matter, although I’d never make such assumptions…

      2. DAVID, I much agree with your view and think Mike B is choosing to cherry pick examples to support his own view, rather than discussing the matter with true balance – whether deliberately or not!

        I CONTEST HIS OPINION that “freedom of speech is absolute”. I passionately believe in the concept of so called free speech, but I HAVE KNOWN FOR MOST OF MY LONG LIFE, that so called free speech often means completely differing things to different people.

        Little is said about “responsibility”, which all people with a large public platform OUGHT to consider very deeply, prior to issuing their personal thoughts.

    2. Try telling an ex soldier who served in NI that the term Brit was not derogatory and listen to his reply.

          1. You Might wanna read the poster above you Revlon ,sometimes the replies do not get put under the person you are replying to , as is the case here .

  5. Well said indeed. I don´t share his opinion but he absolutely has the right to express his views . It truly is becoming a very sad, and indeed sick society we now live in . This in a country that prides itself on being democratic ! Going backwards at high speed I´m afraid . To think how we used to ridicule Pravda and Grandma !

  6. It’s all going a bit crazy right now: No Football Focus, Final Score, Fighting Talk, and some Premier League managers refusing to give pre or post-match interviews. Lots of support for Lineker. It would appear that nobody is prepared to scab it and stand in for Gary.

  7. It is NOT Lineker’s place to use his football position to thrust his personal political views. He is wildly overpaid host who simply feeds bromide comments and question on a very dull programme. The main attraction of the show is simply the match videos (with commentary). NOT Lineker and the pundits whose absence is not a problem. SACK him.

    1. But he didn’t do it in the middle of doing his job
      He did it in his personal time
      He should have as much right as me or you to post what he wants
      Shouldn’t be discriminated because he happens to be rich
      There no rule where you have freedom of speech unless you have lots of money
      Can I ask why BBC didn’t mind when he posted condemning the war in Ukraine ?
      Or when he backed Rashfords bid to challenge poverty ?
      BBC can’t pick and choose

      1. Well said Dan, free speech must be defended and perhaps some people have not followed the story closely but as you clearly stated, he said it in his own time on Twitter, not while he was at work at the BBC.

      2. Well said Dan. Lineker did not make comments on MOTD, BBC TV or radio, but in hid private capacity.
        The hypocrise of the upper msnagement of the BBC is mindboggling given the past efforts of the chairman making donations to the Conservative Party and assisting Boris Johmson obtaining a loan prior to his appointment and Sugar’s anti Labour and denigration of Jeremy Cornen in yhe media.

      1. Crispen. Do you have any idea of what fascism is? Manage your words more carefully. Nothing Chris said is remotely fascist.

    2. Totally agree Chris he was the same with his remarks and political views on Brexit, What we need to remember is these people are in the UK illegally, Its the best way to discourage illegal immigration, dont house them, dont give them benefits,they will soon stop trying to come across the channel, look after your own first.

  8. This isn’t about free speech. He has exercised his right to free speech but ‘free speech’ isn’t really free as most people think of it. Free Speech comes with responsibilities, it isn’t the right to say what you want, whenever you want, without reproach. No one has told Lineker he isn’t entitled to think what he thinks and voice that opinion. And this isn’t about the BBC either. He is employed by the BBC and shouldn’t expect to hold an opinion on a sensitive subject not everyone will agree with, voice that opinion, and expect everything to be hunky dory. That isn’t how society works. You can say what you want but you have to accept the ramifications of doing so.

    1. Exactly ….so BBC are happy for free speech as long as the government agree
      Eg , it’s okay to question Qatar and condemn Russia but not question the UK ?

      1. I think you might have misunderstood what I was trying to say. Gary Lineker should absolutely have the right to express his opinion. This is free speech. What he does not have, however, is the right to express it and not expect something to come from it. I will say right now, I don’t agree with what he said and he should absolutely lose his job at the BBC for saying it. He likened our government to that of the worst regime in human history, that tried to annex neighbouring countries and exterminate an entire ethnic group. Our government is simply trying to prevent immigrants entering this country illegally at extreme danger to themselves. How do those two things equate. Gary Lineker is a horrible communist manifesting as a ‘human rights’ protector.

        1. That’s what I’m saying
          He’s allowed free speech as long as it’s what BBC / government agree with
          If he had said he agrees with the policy would BBC say he broke guidelines ?

          1. Well, probably not. However, were he to agree with it but use inflammatory language as he did in his tweet, then he would presumably (hopefully) be subjected to the same treatment. His stance on the matter is secondary to his choice of words.

          1. Well he is absolutely a socialist and one usually leads to the other. I will admit that this view I hold on his political leanings is formed purely from things he has said and the position he has held on certain matters. Unless he comes out and announced himself as such I am not sure how else we are meant to form an opinion. And how one identifies is just an opinion and isn’t necessarily aligned with how they act or who and what they are.

            1. Well, I know a recent leader of the Labour party was obviously a comrade and a mouthy current frontbencher also seems to be one, but Lineker doesn’t look to be anything more than a bit of a lefty, but you never can tell. Hope not anyway as he seems to me to be not too bad a bloke, if sometimes a little smug, and let’s not overlook the massive support from his colleagues even if elsewhere (like here on JA) he’s not everyones favourite presenter.
              I would imagine that BBC would love to get him off of their books and replaced by someone who could do the job at a third of his salary.

              1. Lineker was a fantastic footballer and is a good presenter. I don’t agree with his statement but I wouldn’t fault his intentions. The people seeking refuge in this, or any other country, need and deserve help. But the UK can’t take everyone. We have a state funded public health service that is under funded and poorly managed and we are balls deep in a recession with unaffordable utilities and basic amenities. The government has a duty to the people that already live here before extending help to others. Immigration through the right and proper channels can be the only course permitted. If unlawful and unlimited entry is allowed to continue then we all go down and the people seeking asylum are no better off than they were before risking their lives for the possibility of a better one. And I would go further to add that there are many countries with far greater land mass than us much nearer to their point of origin that could theoretically take them. What are they doing? The truth is most of them aren’t escaping anything they just want to come to the UK.

            2. Ben you show your ignorance when you make statements like being a socialist usually leads to being a communist. That is like saying being a conservative or reactionary usually leads to being a fascist.

  9. Atleast I can finally watch MOTD again after about 8 years as he and shearer won’t be anywhere in site .
    Fantastic as I loved MoTD growing up .

      1. As long it’s not Alex Scott ,dreadful presenter .
        Gabby Logan would be a fine choice but isn’t she contracted to ITV

    1. DK you have a point but I suggest to us ALL , that tonight may well be worthwhile watching -and I WILL WATCH- but MoTD is now in mortal peril of this, possibly- I stress POSSIBLY – being the last ever one .
      Informed comment is telling us that agents of would be future presenters are warning their clients not to touch MoTD with a proverbial bargepole , IF they want a future career in broadcasting

      IMO this story has a very long way to run as yet.
      I would not care to predict the final outcome with any certainly whatever.

  10. On DANS detailed piece , about which I agre only with his main theme of free speech but reject other matters, esp those pertaining to his artiicle the other day about which he writes, I could write a great deal.

    1. Yep, I think there’s a fake Dan who needs to be exposed for the fraud that he is. Shame on him.

        1. Exactly what I mean! Simply “lol,”Iinreply, compared to long and detailed articles of your OWN words. I may well be wrong, as it could well be that when replying to others, you care little for what anyone says and respond like in this above post, with a terse word or two only.

          But when writing YOUR own pieces, you take great care to say all you wish to say.


          1. No I choose who to engage with .
            I also don’t like to get away from the topic being discussed .
            For example Jon , I would love to hear you views on the subject instead you want to talk about ?
            I don’t even know what ?
            Me being a different person or something .

            This isn’t my site so it’s up to admin but this is a site to talk / debate about football .
            It’s not for angry /lonely people to just have a rant and take things out on each other .

            For instance Jon , your last comment ?
            It’s too deep for me
            It’s football not life
            I write my point of view , some people agree , some don’t but your correct , I don’t care either way .

            Talk about the subject and I’ll engage

            1. Dan I posted a long and very detailed reply, giving you the answers you seek about my own opinions. But it has disappeared, presumably courtesy of Ad PAT.

              Though I have noted of late that posts sometimes take ages to appear, even on the right hand side of the screen under the article headings , so it MIGHT simply be that reason.

    1. Stephanie, one always have to remember Voltaire’s famous words:
      “I may disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”

  11. It seems that many, probably the majority, can see the utter hypocrisy of the Tory backed BBC (or at least the director general who got there by deception and lies from him and Boris) seemingly biased allowed private opinions. Its great that Lineker has the support of so many over this. It is totally embarrassing for the DG but like most people like him, he has thick skin and will ride it all out. Even if it is to the detriment of everyone. It all stinks!!!!!!

    1. @ Reggie The BBC wasnt branded the brussels Broadcasting company for nothing they hate the tories but love the Liberals,

  12. The subject is a minefield. Generally speaking the Beeb provide a carefully balanced overview. Having been abroad recently, it is noticeable how different world news outlets broach similar stories I felt comfortable watching BBC world news where I felt there was decent level of journalistic integrity
    Gary Lineker is a sports broadcaster and not a political journalist. Does his very high profile affect his ‘right’ to free speech at the BBC knowing how the organisation holds impartially at its heart?
    It would be wrong of me to say he shouldn’t be able to air his own political views on a private Twitter account (as in not speaking for the BBC) but he still has some responsibilities to the ethos of the BBC who pay him so handsomely. His tweet – although written from the heart – was highly political
    I’m not entirely sure that he is working for the most suitable employer if he feels the need to make political statements whether I agree with the subject of his twittering or not.
    As I said, a minefield.

    1. Sue P I admire so much of how you write and consider your balanced non combative post the single best on on this thread. There seems to be two polar sides to this debate but, in reality, the actual truth is far more nuanced with faults and a level of stupidity and lack of foresight about the consequences on both sides.
      The real losers are quite likely to be ordinary MOTD viewers , as IMO, THE FUTURE OF THIS PROGRAMME MUST SURELY BE IN REAL JEOPARDY! And THAT is really unfair !

      1. The interesting thing to watch jon, will be how many people will be prepared to step up and take the money to work for MOTD given the support given to Lineker, Wright, Shearer and others by the PFA.

  13. The world has pretty much been taken over by the cancel culture. Everyone can see its a free speech as long as you are saying what is acceptable by a certain nasty community of people who rule the internet and can basically cancel someone to financial ruin and psychological damage.

    The worst cases I have seen of this is J.K. Rowling and Carla Dune.

    You have been the victim of it here Dan as well as an assailant in your coverage of Qatar.

    I remember someone here saying she is excusing USA crimes in Iraq and millions deaths because it was a long time ago but she wouldn’t hear anything excusing 6000 migrant deaths.

    It’s double standards every corner. Tribalism in speech. You agree with us you are one of us. You don’t agree to hell with you.

    Everyone is a champion of free speech as long as you agree with them.

    Admin Pat has been too lenient on Jon fox who has shitted on half of our players yet he think he is entitled to criticize everyone saying anything against his favorites. Criticizing writers, usage of language and whatever nonsense that comes up on his mind. What gives him that right? Who is he? Should we leave him the comment section all by himself? Why don’t he start his own blog and see how far he will go? Criticizing usage of language when he cannot even write his name properly.

    In the end almost all of us hypocrites.

    What did Jesus say about throwing the first stone? In this day and age there is not a single individual qualified to pick that stone.

  14. I agree with what is written. This right wing government and the BBC are being selective about free speech and guidelines for presenters.
    More annoying is that some ministers are referring to Lineker’s comments as an affront to the Holocaust but this word was not used in it’s known context until the mid forties. Right wing nonsense.
    Finally, why do people in general think that famous people who earn a lot of money have no right to an opinion?
    Again, well written article and comment I can easily associate with

  15. The whole thing is a bit of mess.

    Gary was completely out of order for his comment, and it was also factually wrong. People are only backing him up because they are mates.

    I do find it bizarre that this where Lineker draws the line in the sand when it comes to his BBC career and our government. Forget the last few horrific years of death, and suffering caused by the Covid lies from the government (whilst they were constantly breaking their own draconian rules I should add), no it’s illegal immigration that does it for Gary.

    What about the pain and suffering of our own citizens Gary?

    On the flip side, I am sick of this cancel culture, and corporate entities working with governments to create narratives, and spewing out their propaganda.

    So I do like Gary’s stance in refusing to apologize to the might of the media, but his argument loses weight given he’s wrong in what he says, and he’s picked the wrong story.

    1. I should add, I am a free speech advocate. So I fully support Gary’s right to say what he did.

      Because the other great point of the importance of free speech, is that it also exposes people. If you truly want to know about some ones thoughts, intentions, stupidity etc….let them speak!

    2. Jen, thats the whole idea about free speech, you may not agree but you dont threaten them. Gary wasn’t wrong with what he said, he wasn’t right either, it was his thoughts.

      1. I agree, you shouldn’t threaten and censor people just because you disagree with them.

        On this subject though, Gary is massively wrong!

        He’s comparing the deportation of illegal immigrants to what a particular political party was doing in Germany during the 1930’s. Not only is he factually wrong, he’s creating a dangerous conspiracy.

        I didn’t name the party (we all know who I am talking about), because I have noticed that some of these sites do not promote freedom of speech, and comments using certain words in whatever context will get flagged and censored. Not saying that’s the case on this site, I am just playing it safe as I cannot be bothered to reword my comment.

  16. Its all about what suits one’s own agenda isnt it? Hasnt it been like that everywhere? People are praising the ex pros for supporting Lineker but where was the support for Le Tissier? Personally I believe the world is not yet ready for free speech and would prefer to keep my thoughts to myself. This would ensure me guidlining myself along with what the powers that be want but atleast without consequences. I praise all those who believe in free speech and would cheer them on but due to the cancel as well as reverse cancel culture that we are witnessing now a days rather than just free propagation and discourse of opinion, I would not join the free speech guys personally. But, as long as there are some base absolute rule of dos and donts I guess anything goes.

    Basically what I wanna say is, if what you say is not harming anyone, and you believe is relevant to the situation, sure go ahead I guess.

    1. Afterall its not like we are in the earlier times when saying things like the earth revolves around the sun or all human beings have equal rights was punishable by law, lol.

    2. “Basically what I wanna say is, if what you say is not harming anyone, and you believe is relevant to the situation, sure go ahead I guess.”
      This is the key question: how do you define harm?
      Considering that will always be somewhat objective (it seems these days, feeling uncomfortable is equivalent to being harmed), I don’t see how anyone can support the regulating of speech. For an authoritarian left government, harm means x, for an authoritarian right government, it means y – everyone loses eventually. That’s why there should never be any laws restricting speech.

  17. I don’t want footballers to be lecturing me on politics, as they are even less qualified than the politicians themselves. This is not an open and shut case as people who have applied through legal routes are pushed to the back of the queue because the illegals are taking processing priority, criminal gangs are profiting, people who are coming over are either not at risk, or being used in criminal activity to pay the cost of the crossing, the cost is on the tax payer currently 7 billion a year, which Gary Lineker is conveniently evading, people are dying in the channel, public services such as hospitals, gp’s, schools, policing and housing are becoming more in demand because of the increasing population who require them, so it is not as simple as using insulting insensitive comparisons, which is actually insulting to a whole group of people whose population was decimated by a third as a result of genocide. Gary Lineker has also been warned by the BBC not to air his political opinions, as as most of us in the workplace know, you only get so many warnings, then you are out. I have no sympathy for him, if he felt that strongly, he should’ve left the BBC and found some other way to air his opinions, rather than ruining the free time from politics that football brings most of us.

    1. I personally did not want to get involved in this right or wrong debate ,as I think he’s a knob so bias would have taken over my post ,so just sat back and read through the comments ,yours stands out Gmv8 on the side for against his actions 👍

    2. It is getting very murky and not a free country, when your employer thinks they have a right to control your private opinions, that have absolutely nothing to do with them are being censored. We are not and should never be a big brother state and definitely your employer should not control your opinions, when they dont hurt anyone and are not relevant to your job.

      1. Reggie
        It’s hard to disagree with your standpoint on the freedom of speech perspective because we all want to have the personal freedom ‘to be’.
        Sometimes there are consequences for having that freedom
        Earlier you posted about the BBC towing the Tory line and I agree with you that BJ had his mitts all over the appointment of the top man and for dodgy reasons. But do you not believe that for the most part the Beeb follows a neutral path? Like many things in life, if your political leanings are a particular way then it’s natural to see an organisation such as Auntie as biased if they take an opposing stance to yours or mine.
        Having read Gmv8’s post I think you have slightly misunderstood his point. Lineker was warned about his use of social media. I could be warned about timekeeping. If he and I persist then that is using up our chances.
        Lineker knows the risks and clearly feels his right to speak freely outweighs his responsibility to the BBC. He should consider his own position as untenable and resign. I’m sure he’d find any number of positions or roles in other media platforms who would welcome him. The job with its the guidelines don’t suit him really.

        1. His use of social media, should not be dictated by his employer Sue. Especially when it was a subject that has no bearing to the BBC and are his own private thoughts. If ot was about the BBC and harming, then thats different but it was about his opinion. Your employer can not force you to change that. Plus i think the BBC know now they were 100% wrong.

          1. Reggie
            I am not far away from agreeing with you
            I just believe that for the most part the BBC endeavours to provide balance. We are not talking about the likes of Fox News which hovers decidedly to the right and will appoint suitably right leaning staff
            The Beeb has as long as I can remember aimed to be impartial. I can laugh at Have I got news for you because the lineup is well chosen and it’s satire. I can watch Question Time because the guests are well matched to argue political issues. By Gary Lineker, football presenter, putting those private thoughts out there, he is making the decision that they were not going to end up being private For me it is not about him exercising his right to freedom of speech but GL thinking that what he has to say is particularly significant and newsworthy. Slightly self important. It would also be a bit rum if certain civil servants and the like decided that they weren’t going to abide by the Official Secrets Act and just willy nilly spill the beans on whatever they fancied.
            There comes with the power that Lineker has in the media to use it wisely or give up the day job and enter the political arena

      2. Reggie and SueP, there was a time in the history of the UK, where a person was forced to vote for the candidate selected by their employer. If you didn’t vote for that candidate you lost your job and if on a landed estate, you would be evicted from your home.

    3. But did he lecture anyone ?
      Or did he post a tweet like so many people do ?
      It’s then up to the individual to listen or not .
      There is zero rule that if you have allot of money you can’t have an opinion

        1. The writer of this post is not getting what the whole thing is really about. Its not about Lineker, its about what his employer is trying to dictate.

          1. Exactly
            The irony being had they just ignored the tweet as one person’s opinion not as many people would now be aware of it

            1. If I had a Twitter account then I may have my family following me
              Lineker has over a million which is a wee bit more than I could muster. If that many people hang on his every word then his opinion was hardly ever going to be unnoticed

              1. Then close social media accounts because you cant have it both ways
                You can’t say celebs engage with fans but only say what the government likes

  18. This not about Free Speech at all It’s about IMPARTIALITY. The BBC in it’s charter has a duty to be impartial. Gary Lineker is free to give his opinion
    as a citizen but when he is employed by the BBC he should be impartial. Most firms I have worked for have a clause that says you shouldn’t post anything
    that can be detrimental to the company you work for. Seems fair to me. It’s not the first time he’s done this and he should have been sacked immediately.

    1. And the Chairman, Board Members of the BBC, Sugar and others are impartial? When you have Government appointees in management/leadership positions how can they be impartial given the Government of the day appointed them?
      Total hypocrisy!

  19. I’m all for free speech, but if after being warned a few times by your employer that your tweets are against the company rules, then be prepared to face the consequences.

    Do I agree with what he tweeted, no, not really, as Germany in the 30’s didn’t have thousands of people illegally entering the country.

  20. I think that beyond the issue of having the right to express one’s opinion the BBCs stance is based on a fear of not wanting to offend conservative governments who will then recriminate by further cutting their funding. It is a kind of blackmail held against any publicly funded organisation and it has been frequently used here in Australia and the US with claims of bias whenever some government misadventure has been exposed. It’s also the reason people like Trump and Boris will go to FOX and SKY because these Murdock networks will spout the party line to the gullible. On a micro scale this form of censorship is not too different from aftv banning Mo Haddler on pointing out Israeli injustice. It’s all about money, whether sponsored or publicly funded and has nothing to do with values or fairness.

    1. 👍 Spot on Joe S. Rupert Murdock is one of the most dangerous men in the world.
      Hopefilly Fox has finally overstepped the mark with the Dominion Defamation Case in the USA, although it survived the “mobile phone scandal” in the UK.

  21. I am a firm believer in free speech, however this is something different entirely. First and foremost the BBC and MOTD is GL’s employer and therefore GL is bound to contractual obligations set out by his employer, which he would have known. From my experience you cannot criticise your employers policies in a public space and be within your contractual obligations. There are other avenues for him to take if he was critical of certain policies. In summary this has more to do with contractual law and breach of contract than freedom of speech.

    1. He’s actually a freelancer working under contract to the BBC (as are most of his broadcast colleagues) but not employed by the corporation, so doesn’t have to abide by any employment laws, although the terms of his contract probably have some sort of references to political impartiality.
      I’m not aware that he was criticising the BBC’s policies at all (although he probably justifiably has by now), but the UK government’s policy on the repatriation of illegal immigrants.
      More informed folk will correct me if I’ve got this wrong.

      1. As a freelancer or sub contractor he would still be bound by his contractual obligations. Large corporations\entities such as the BBC would have well defined clauses regarding the personal use of social media and political comment. Whether those clauses are deemed just is irrelevant. If you don’t like like the limitations placed on by agreeing to a term of employment contract, don’t sign it or have it amended before signing it. This is not unusual contractual negotiations.

        1. Of course, but really we can only guess at the terms of Lineker’s contract, and as he seems a sensible enough sort of bloke you’d expect that he might ensure that he had some favourable control on the content of his Twitter account, which apparently has millions of readers, earning him a fortune.
          I just don’t get that he’d deliberately tweet something so obviously controversial and in conflict with his BBC contract, unless he thinks himself untouchable.
          Anyway, looks like he won’t be back to The Beeb anytime soon and is more likely to now join Sky.

        2. So how come Alan Sugar and David Attenborough have got away with their views, it reeks of double standards

  22. Freedom of speech should protect people from government intervention – no one should receive fines or jail time for speech with very, very few exceptions, however, repercussions regarding employment is a bit more complicated. I don’t like the idea of people losing their jobs for things they’ve said in their free time, personally, but i don’t see a problem with it in principle. It’s a bit of a grey area for me. Say if someone is an overt racist in their free time, would you blame a small restaurant for firing him/her as a chef or waiter (considering their expressed views are likely to chase away customers)? To some extent, employers should have the right to determine whether an employee is capable of representing their organisation properly, right?

    This situation is even more complicated, however, because the BBC is funded, and because of lineker’s contractual situation, as I understand… I agree Lineker should be able to say what he wants, and I don’t think he should have lost his job for this, personally – the BBC needs to maintain a perception of impartiality due to it’s funding, but I’m not sure that a football presenter’s views are really relevant in that regard. However, I can see why this one is a bit tricky, especially if he’s been warned previously.

    The real freedom of speech issue in this country is that people actually *can* be fined and jailed for things they say if they’re deemed ‘grossly offensive’ – an obviously ambiguous term! I find this to be far more concerning than Gary Lineker’s situation.

    1. This is entirely between Lineker and the BBC and there’s been no government intervention in this situation at all, in fact the PM has distanced himself from the conflict by speaking favourably of Gary as a sports presenter.

      1. Yes, but the BBC is not exactly an independent company. They’re supposed to follow terms that are dictated by the home secretary, as that is who gives them the licence to broadcast, to my understanding.
        The PM would want to distance himself from the conflict – why would he want to be involved?

        1. At Prime Ministers Questions some Tory stooge will ask the PM his opinion on this issue, and he already will have prepaired a scripted response that he’s showing his support for Lineker as has the rest of the country. Big vote winner for the govermnent showing it’s not involved by tentatively actually being involved. You just watch it happen at 12.01 pm Wednesday next.

          1. I’d be a little surprised simply because many conservative voters will disagree with linekers comments and wouldn’t be happy to see the PM showing support, tacit or otherwise. That said, I find it difficult to predict anything these days, so you may well be right.
            Alternatively they might use this to pursue an agenda for reforming the BBC?

            1. What he’s actually said was (on ITV) that Lineker was a great footballer and talented presenter, and that this is between him & the BBC. You can find the full text easily enough, but I thought that he could have condemmed Lineker, but went a soft on the issue.
              Seems the Beeb wants him back now😃

      2. “No Government interference, because “the PM has distanced himself” and all the pigs are lined up on the runway ready to take off!

  23. Allowing Alan Suger to view his political views on Labour and Mick Lynch, the BBC did nothing, the same with David Attenborough, but when the rubbish Tory government complains about his tweets and the BBC jumps to their orders, the BBC and their corrupt Tim Davie who has now had to grovel and apologise is a joke. I am not a fan of jug ears, but I am of freedom of speech

      1. The tweet Lineker put out, about a dozen Tory MPs complain about the content, it was all over the news, the comparison to Germany in the 30’s

  24. i think it more probable than not, that on Tuesday coming, when the BBC bigwigs meet to discuss it, that Lineker wil be asked once more to pledge not to tweet controversially.

    IMO he wil decline to do so and will then be sacked.
    My gut feeling is that at 62 and with 25 years behind him and “an ego that comes in the door twenty minutes before he does” – NOT MY words, but the words of a close friend who has worked for many years as a technician on MotD and has often seen how Lineker throws his weight around, esp to techies folk, who we never see on screen – is that Lineker is probably angling for a change and may well be headhunted by ITV or a satellite broadcaster with a far higher salary and with no being neutral restrictions.

    I have NO definite knowledge of this but just a gut feeling, based on what I AM RELIABLY TOLD ABOUT HOW LlINEKER BEHAVES AND HOW HE PLANS HIS LIFE.
    Essentially , the whole “free speech thing” is a charade, used by Lineker to get what he REALLY wants, is my hunch.
    AT PRESENT HE IS UNDER CONTRACT TO BBC, but probably wants out. Time will tell!

  25. The irony for me, regarding Linekers views which are front page and first item news, is that folk across the whole country, excluding the Metropolitan elite will now, foolishly IMO, harden their hearts to immigrants of all kinds.

    The unfortunate upshot, esp from Linekers view, is that ALREADY the large poll lead LABOUR held around a week ago, before this controversy blew up, has shrunk dramatically.

    Two polls taken this weekend have not yet reached the internet and I HAVE SEARCHED.
    BUT I know this to be accurately reported.

    People of ALL political persuasions are not keen to have ILLEGAL immigrants arrive on our shores in increasing numbers. That includes me.

    Some, more than many of us even imagine, believe we should have NO immigrants at all, not even ones who arrive legally.

    MANY DO NOT THINK WITH THEIR HEAD AT ALL, but just have natural unthinking prejudice. Sigh!

    The Tories are of course well aware of this and have been all along.

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