BBC presenter Gary Lineker has suffered a backlash following comments made on social media in which he accused those booing footballers taking the knee before games of being part of the problem.
In a tweet posted on Sunday, the former England striker wrote: “If you boo @England players for taking the knee, you’re part of the reason why players are taking the knee.”
His condemnation of the action taken by a number of England fans drew fierce criticism with the ex-footballer accused of being “just another out of touch pundit millionaire”.
The Defund the BBC campaign commented: “Has the BBC not read BLM’s Marxist manifesto or have they read it and agree with the overthrow of capitalism and defunding the police?”
“I don’t know how many times it needs to be explained that booing taking the knee does not make you a racist”, replied one social media user, adding: “Pretty much every football fan just wants to watch the football, not be lectured on how terribly racist they are by virtue signalling millionaires.”
“How many millions has Gary Lineker made from the capitalism that BLM wishes to destroy?” asked the deputy editor of Country Squire magazine, James Bembridge.
“They have a right to boo,” insisted former Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney. “It’s just about still a free country. And this proves: it’s time to kick politics out of football. It’s killing the game for ordinary fans.”
A number of users explained that they backed Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign but just did not agree with politics in football and took issue with the nod to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lineker’s comments follow a week of debate after a significant minority of fans at the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday booed England’s international team for taking the knee prior to kickoff, an action now synonymous with the anti-police, anti-capitalist Black Lives Matter political movement.
England manager Gareth Southgate doubled down on his side’s commitment to the cause this week, confirming England players will continue to take the knee before Euro 2020 matches this summer, and planned to ignore any response from the crowd.
“We accept there might be an adverse reaction, and we’re just going to ignore that and move forward.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Southgate added: “We did discuss if there is a better way of doing this. Is there more an impactful way now of doing this?
“Perhaps moving forward there probably is, but at this moment in time, given what happened the other day, we were not prepared to make a backward step.”