Gary Lineker accuses Richard Madeley of ‘misrepresenting’ him on Good Morning Britain
Gary Lineker has accused Richard Madeley of “misrepresenting” him while speaking for the first time about being suspended from Match of the Day.
In March, 62-year-old Lineker was told to step back from hosting the football highlights show over a tweet comparing the language used to launch a new government asylum seeker policy with that used in 1930s Germany.
The BBC’s sports scheduling subsequently descended into chaos, with Match of the Day going ahead without presenters or pundits after both Ian Wright and Alan Shearer pulled out in “solidarity” with Lineker.
Three days later, Lineker’s suspension came to an end. BBC director general Tim Davie said that Lineker had agreed to abide by the corporation’s editorial guidelines while they conducted an independent review into their social media guidelines and how they apply to freelancers.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday (23 May), Madeley explained that he’d defended Lineker’s right to share his political views on social media, but had fundamentally disagreed with what the former footballer had said.
The presenter claimed that Lineker had “essentially, compared the British government today in 2023 to the Nazi government, the dictatorship, in the early 1930s”.
Lineker could be heard scoffing at Madeley’s comment, rolling his eyes before replying: “Already you’ve misrepresented what I said, and that’s what happened because of the Daily Mail headline which caused this furore in the first place.
“I didn’t compare the government to the Nazis, I didn’t talk about the Holocaust, I didn’t do any of that. All I said was, some of the language is not dissimilar to that used back in the Thirties in Germany and there is a substantial difference in that.”
Lineker insisted that the scandal was “a very disproportionate story”, but added that, in the end, “common sense prevailed”.
Madeley badgering Lineker on ITV this morning with the story about his tweets and the BBC suspension. Misrepresentation of the worst kind. Do they keep him there for the ratings ? A journalist he ain't.
— @johnandi#FBPE#GTTO#LetsTryUBI#FollowBackFriday (@johnandi) May 23, 2023
However, when Madeley pushed him on the similarities between Nazi and Conservative rhetoric, Lineker replied: “Again, you’re using the term about Nazis and trying to connect it with this government. I was talking about some of the language that is not dissimilar and that is very much the case.
“We use the words ‘swarm’, we use the word ‘invasion’, we use the word ‘rapists’... all these for people fleeing persecution, fleeing war, awful circumstances. All I was trying to say is that we can use kinder language and it was nothing more and nothing less than that, Richard.”
GMB viewers were quick to criticise Madeley for his comments, saying that Lineker had “schooled” him.
One viewer wrote: “Richard Madeley going full on Tory with Gary Lineker on @GMB, it didn’t work of course, Gary’s way smarter than him.”
“Huge HUGE mistakes by Madeley talking to Gary Lineker this morning!” another commenter said. “Madeley taking the Tory line, and trying to irritate Lineker!”
One tweet read: “Watching @GaryLineker on @GMB right now … how is Richard Madeley still on the tv? He’s misrepresenting the words in his tweet just like the Daily Mail... Lineker is dealing with this with class!”
“Madeley badgering Lineker on ITV this morning with the story about his tweets and the BBC suspension. Misrepresentation of the worst kind. Do they keep him there for the ratings? A journalist he ain’t,” another commenter wrote.