Gary Lineker ‘overwhelmed’ by support after ‘hurtful’ week in BBC row

Gary Lineker’s son has become the first family member to speak out amidst his BBC row (Picture: NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Gary Lineker’s son has spoken out amidst his impartiality row with the BBC.

Lineker, 62, has been at the centre of a major media storm this week, resulting in him being asked to step back from fronting Match Of The Day on Saturday (March 11) ‘until an agreement is reached on his social media use’.

The controversial decision from the BBC came after Lineker compared the UK government’s language around migrants to the language used in 1930s Germany, on his personal Twitter account.

While Lineker was spotted for the first time this morning, leaving his house all smiles as he headed to the Leicester City match, he has not made any further public comment.

His son, George, however, has given an interview, describing his dad’s state as ‘overwhelmed.’

George also said that the sports presenter would return to Match Of The Day, but that he would not ‘back down on his word.’

The pundit is a dad to 31-year-old George, as well as Harry, 29, Tobias, 27, and Angus, 25 (Picture: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock)

In conversation with The Sunday Mirror, the former England player’s eldest said: ‘This week has been very overwhelming, and I do think it has been hurtful for Dad. But all the support he has received has made him feel a lot better and I know he has no regrets.’

George, 31, said his dad put on a brave face after he initially found out he had been asked to ‘stand down’, and he texted him, receiving a thumbs up emoji reply from his dad.

But he claims his dad got emotional when he learned of fellow TV stars and pundits also standing down from their BBC roles in solidarity.

George explained: ‘After it all kicked off, me and my brothers messaged him saying, “We’re proud of you”, and he replied, “Cheers boys”, with a thumbs up emoji.

The former footballer was asked to step back from hosting Match Of The Day this weekend (Picture: PA)

‘Later he told us that he’d been so overwhelmed by the support. He wrote, “Shearer and Wrighty backing down made me emotional, it means a lot to me.”

‘I think he did cry when he found out about that. The support has been a positive thing to come out of this.’

He assured he’s in constant contact with his dad: ‘I’ve been messaging him today, just saying, “How are you doing Dad, how are you holding up?”, And he replied, “All good”.’

George was also keen to sing his dad’s praises, hailing him ‘a good human’, stating that he’s ‘proud of him for standing by his word.’

‘That’s why he was pulled off the show – because he wouldn’t apologise,’ George added. ‘But he will always speak up for people who don’t have a voice.’

The BBC has been heavily criticised for its handling of the situation, but apologised for the disruption to programming (Picture: BBC)
Fans have showered Lineker with support, as fellow pundits and TV stars also backed out of their BBC gigs (Picture: PA)

He added that Lineker is ‘passionate about helping refugee charities’, having previously taken in two refugees, with whom he is still in touch and ‘trying to help.’

‘It means a lot to him to stand up for people whose only hope is to escape a country with only the clothes on their back. That’s why he’s been so firm.’

George continued: ‘Will he go back to Match Of The Day? I think so – he loves Match Of The Day. But he won’t ever back down on his word.’

He added that his dad had been ‘a bit disappointed’ by the BBC asking him to step back from hosting Saturday’s Match Of The Day following his political comments.

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