...By Muyiwa Aderinto for TDPel Media.
Controversy Surrounds Gary Lineker’s Human Rights Award in Italy Following Nazi Tweet Jibe
Outspoken BBC presenter Gary Lineker has found himself at the center of a new controversy.
After being taken off air in March for his Nazi comparison tweet aimed at Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Lineker is now accused of embarking on a “self-congratulatory fest” to Italy to receive a human rights award.
The Match Of The Day host’s actions have reignited debates about freedom of speech, political activism, and the BBC’s impartiality.
Lineker’s Award Ceremony: Lineker is set to attend an award ceremony hosted by Amnesty International in Rome, where he will be presented with a “sport and human rights award.”
The organization lauded him as a “staunch advocate for the rights of refugees and migrants.”
Palestinian footballer Natali Shaheen will also receive an award at the event.
However, Lineker’s choice to accept the award in Italy has drawn criticism due to the country’s political climate.
Political Context: Italy’s Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, has taken a hardline stance on migration, warning of an “invasion” of migrants and refugees.
Her government has implemented stricter policies regarding asylum seekers and increased penalties for human smugglers.
This juxtaposition between Lineker’s advocacy for refugees and Meloni’s policies has raised eyebrows and sparked a backlash.
Backlash and Criticism: Tory MPs have voiced their disapproval of Lineker’s actions, urging him to reconsider his position at the BBC.
Craig Mackinlay criticized the award ceremony as a “self-congratulatory fest,” highlighting Lineker’s affiliation with woke activism.
Gareth Johnson questioned Lineker’s ability to balance his roles as a broadcaster and a political activist, suggesting that he should choose one or the other.
Sir John Hayes expressed regret and labeled the award as “pathetic,” indicating that Lineker should focus on other pursuits.
Amnesty International’s Perspective: Amnesty International, the organization presenting the award, has previously defended Lineker’s right to express his views on refugees, despite accusations of BBC bias.
The “sport and human rights award” is part of a collaboration between Amnesty International and the Italian organization Sport4Society, aiming to recognize exceptional contributions to human rights in the field of sport.
Lineker’s Previous Controversy: Lineker’s March tweet comparing the government’s language on asylum seekers to that of 1930s Germany led to his temporary removal from the BBC.
However, following support from other presenters who refused to appear in solidarity, Lineker was allowed to return to his hosting duties.
The BBC declined to comment on the latest controversy surrounding Lineker’s award ceremony.
Commentary: Lineker’s attendance at the award ceremony in Italy has generated further discussion about the intersection of politics, activism, and broadcasting.
The controversy highlights the ongoing tension between freedom of expression and the expectations of impartiality for public figures, particularly those associated with the BBC.
It remains to be seen how this latest development will impact Lineker’s career and the public perception of his role as a prominent media personality.