Gary Lineker's Twitter Message For The Sun Earns Ex-Footballer 'Nothing But Credit'

'Irony and downright hypocrisy.'
Gary Lineker has hit back at The Sun who launched a personal attack on his appearance following his vocal stance on the Calais child refugee story
Gary Lineker has hit back at The Sun who launched a personal attack on his appearance following his vocal stance on the Calais child refugee story
Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

Gary Lineker on Friday sidestepped The Sun’s personal attack on him over coverage of the Calais child refugee teeth check story, by striking at the heart of the newspaper’s stance on the issue.

While admitting he was taking “a bit of a spanking” for being outspoken on the controversy, the former footballer said: “Things could be worse: Imagine just for a second, being a refugee having to flee from your home.”

Lineker’s stance was applauded online, support he later said he was “slightly overwhelmed” with.

Getting a bit of a spanking today, but things could be worse: Imagine, just for a second, being a refugee having to flee from your home.

— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 21, 2016

@GaryLineker you're fighting the good fight mate. You've done nothing but earned credit from this in my eyes. Well done.

— Stephen Grant (@stephencgrant) October 21, 2016

@GaryLineker I'm really glad you're doing this

— Abi Wilkinson (@AbiWilks) October 21, 2016

Always cheers us up to see people standing up for refugees. Thank you @GaryLineker.

— Refugee Action (@RefugeeAction) October 21, 2016

The Sun should lay off @GaryLineker. Compassion and solidarity are great British values. Since when should people be sacked for them?

— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) October 21, 2016

On the one hand, I fully support @GaryLineker over refugees. On the other, I quite fancy the @BBCMOTD gig. #dilemma

— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) October 21, 2016

Slightly overwhelmed by the support on here today to be honest. Thank you.

— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 21, 2016

The BBC presenter’s classy comeback came as people called for a “boycott” of The Sun - which today urged the BBC to fire “jug-eared” and “leftie luvvie” Lineker for his humanitarian stance. MP David Lammy also led a chorus of commentary around the “irony and downright hypocrisy” of the tabloid’s position. Lammy said the tabloid’s pages “poison our democracy”.

The irony & downright hypocrisy of @TheSun accusing @GaryLineker (or anyone) of peddling migrant lies. Your front pages poison our democracy

— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) October 21, 2016

Lineker, 55, has been forthright on Twitter since several newspapers ran pictures of child refugees on their front pages, with The Sun among others using a “fun app” as evidence to determine the children’s real ages. The issue soured further when Tory MP David Davies called for teeth checks to help verify ages, a claim later backed by Labour’s former home secretary Jack Straw. In one deft tweet, Lineker demolished English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson with a single tweet.

The Sun attacked Lineker for branding those questioning the age of the young men entering the UK from Calais as “hideously racist” and on its front page suggested the BBC was under pressure to fire him for breaching its guidelines around impartiality.

Among those calling for a “boycott” of The Sun was former Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason.

England. Expects. That. Every. Fan. Will. Do. Their. Duty. And. Boycott. The. S*n. Support @GaryLineker

— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) October 20, 2016

Come on let's get this trending and send The Sun a message. #StandWithGary #DontBuyTheSun

— CorbynFan (@CorbynSuperFan) October 21, 2016

I'm proud that @GaryLineker works at the BBC. Brilliant footballer, great presenter and clearly someone with a bit of compassion.

— Chris Sussman (@chris_sussman) October 20, 2016

A word for Sun complaining about 'migrant lies' is chutzpah. Note for the Sun: chutzpah is an old migrant word for 'taking the piss.'

— Rafael Behr (@rafaelbehr) October 21, 2016

The Sun reckons @GaryLineker "peddles migrant lies" for defending child refugees - Just going to leave some of their front pages here...

— Shehab Khan (@ShehabKhan) October 21, 2016

@TheSun You're actually turning into a parody of yourself! Accusing someone else of lying?! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha #dontbuythesun

— Franz (@franz_elphick) October 20, 2016

@TheSun "peddles migrant lies"? That's what you've been doing for years. Worried he's on your turf? #dontbuythesun

— Gavin Willerton (@biggav77) October 20, 2016


— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) October 21, 2016

Disgraceful (and surely a bit libellous!?) smear against @GaryLineker

He didn't 'brand brits racist'. He branded racists, racists

— Jack Mendel (@Mendelpol) October 20, 2016

What does "luvvie" even mean any more? Lineker's a "leftie luvvie" for being at odds with the Sun? Fuck the Sun. #JeSuisLuvvie

— Ian Martin (@IanMartin) October 21, 2016

If any of us could play football we wouldn't have got all luvvied up in the first place. Mwah to Gary darling 💋

— Robert Webb (@arobertwebb) October 21, 2016

The Sun sought to discredit Lineker for retweeting a suggestion that one of the child refugees - whose age was being debated by newspapers on Wednesday - was in fact an interpreter for the Home Office. The claim was later found to be untrue.

Lineker’s tweet did not endorse the suggestion as fact.

Wow! Surely not?

— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 19, 2016

The Sun went on to quote two Tory MPs who questioned whether Lineker overstepped the mark by getting involved in the furore.

David Davies said: “I hope he apologises. I question if the BBC should be employing him when he seems to be using his fame to push out his rather emotive and controversial views.”

Lineker’s spokesman told The Sun: “He won’t be commenting, especially not to you.”

The newspaper separately, in an editorial on Friday, called for those who spread mistruths on Twitter to be held in account as, “many of those same liars are the noisiest advocates of the toughest possible State regulation of newspapers”.

"Who polices liars on Twitter? No one. Yet many of those liars are the noisiest advocates of the toughest State regulation of newspapers"

— Dylan Sharpe (@dylsharpe) October 21, 2016

The charity that made the suggestion that the child refugee was in fact an adult interpreter last night issued a statement seeking to clarify how the mistake was made.

A TACT spokesman said: “Our information was from a credible source. However, if the male is indeed a migrant and not an interpreter, TACT regrets any concern caused.”

Meanwhile, Nick Robinson prompted a discussion of a different kind when he mistakenly tweeted about The Sun’s editor Tony Gallagher’s “jugs”. He later clarified saying he meant lug holes.

Oops. Think just said that editor of The Sun @tonygallagher had large jugs rather than lug holes. Front page explains why ....

— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) October 21, 2016

But no one was bothered.

@bbcnickrobinson @tonygallagher Oooh....Being an editor of The Sun, he's probably got a bit of a large jugs fixation anyway!

— Breaking News (@Coceee) October 21, 2016

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