Gary Lineker has sparked controversy after appearing to defend Jamie Vardy’s racist outburst.
The Leicester striker was filmed using racial slurs towards an Asian man last year, an incident that has been pushed to one side and replaced by the striker’s heroics this season.
Vardy was fined by the Foxes and warned by the FA but little has been made about the event that happened in a casino.
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Lineker has been Leicester’s biggest cheerleader this season as the team he used to play for mounts a shock Premier League title charge.
In December, the Match of the Day presenter admitted he would host the highlights show in his underwear if Leicester lifted the trophy. He’s probably regretting that comment now.
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He’ll also be regretting his defence of Vardy. In an interview with The Guardian, he said: “People make mistakes. They say stupid things. He did it and he apologised.
“I think it depends on how you say it, and where you say it. But I know footballers, and they are generally really not racist at all.
“I’ve heard things said on football pitches that players clearly don't mean, whether it's racism or just an abusive comment in the heat of the moment.
"Fundamentally, footballers don't look around a dressing room and think: 'He's a black player ... he's Japanese.' They don't think like that. They think: 'He's a good player, he can help, he's not very good.' I'm not trying to defend anyone's actions but there are going to be isolated incidents because it's an emotive, passionate sport."
Cue the backlash.
You wonder whether Lineker would have made those comments if he wasn’t a Leicester fan. He rarely makes headlines for negative reasons, and has proven himself to be socially aware on Twitter, but the Foxes’ remarkable rise seems to have gotten to his head.
He’s even expressed his anti-racism stance on the social media site, on several occasions.
After footage surfaced of Chelsea supporters racially abusing a black man on the Paris metro, he wrote to his 4.7 million following: “Just saw the video of the Chelsea mob's deplorable behaviour and racist chants. Sickening, embarrassing, moronic, disgraceful.”
When a Villarreal fan threw a banana at Barcelona defender Dani Alves - to which the Brazilian picked it up and ate it - Lineker said: “Utterly brilliant reaction from Alves. Treat the racist berk with complete disdain!”
He continued on Spain’s problem with racism: “Spanish football must face up to the fact that they have a serious racist problem. They can't continue to bury their heads in the sand.”
A fan throwing a banana at a player and a striker hurling abuse at a Japanese man are both counts of racism.
It’s odd that Lineker doesn’t see that.
Do Vardy's racist remarks take the shine off Leicester's season? Have your say in the comments section below!
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