Ian Wright has denounced “racist” abuse by black and female pundits following Sky Sports’ decision to sack Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas from their football posts on Saturday.
It was revealed on Wednesday that the trio, who have long been experts on the hugely popular show hosted by Jeff Stelling, were sacked ahead of the upcoming season.
Following the announcement, names like Micah Richards, Alex Scott and Clinton Morrison are just a few of the names that have been suggested to replace them.
The news received a mixed reaction on social media, prompting the former Arsenal striker Wright to park his car and post a heartfelt video on social media urging users to stop racist comments.
The Arsenal legend said: “Racism is exploding today. Can someone just answer me: What did Micah Richards, Alex Scott, Sol Campbell, Clinton Morrison or any other black expert have to do with Sky’s decision to get rid of these guys?
“All because three middle-aged whites were fired.
Former Manchester City striker Micah Richards shares a joke with compatriot Roy Keane ahead of City v Liverpool in July
Alex Scott (middle) alongside fellow expert Jamie Redknapp and presenter Scott Minto
Jeff Stelling, who hosts the popular show, described it as “one of my saddest days of my life”
Ian Wright launched a defense of Alex Scott, Micah Richards and other black experts
Alex Scott responded to video posted by Ian Wright with four love heart emojis
Richards said the tweets’ innuendo linking him to Alex Scott “creates’ uncomfortable truths’
“I kiss my teeth,” said raasclaat and all that sort of thing. What did they do? What did these guys do?
“Because a black person or a woman might have the opportunity to do this job. They might have a chance to do this show. Why are people upset? “.
Scott was all the rage on Twitter tonight and many praised her as one of the nation’s most talented football pundits. But she was also struck by a slew of sexist tweets.
Richards has also received the support of many football fans after his forceful and scholarly opinions since hanging up the boots and becoming an expert. He has also been the target of abuse on Twitter.
The former Manchester City star tweeted on Wednesday night he said: I saw I was on trend today compared to a brilliant, corporate Sky Sports TV show I never even saw participated.
“The underlying innuendo in the tweets immediately linking mine to Alex Scott’s names creates uncomfortable truths. Peace and love
Scott, who played for Arsenal Women, has become a leading expert in recent years, with Sky Sports and the BBC.
Wright described Scott as “one of the best prepared experts in the business”.
Wright also praised former Manchester City and Aston Villa defender Richards, who recently became an expert following the conclusion of his playing career.
He said: “Alex Scott, for me, is easily one of the best prepared experts. Easily. Micah Richards, the most exciting expert to hit the scene in years. Keep their names out of the smelly mouth of your unbrushed teeth.
Some of the comments on social media were less supportive of Micah Richards and Alex Scott as new football pundits on Saturday
“These guys, Matt Le Tissier, Charlie Nicholas, Phil Thompson, they had an amazing race. It was a great show. It happens to everyone in the industry. It’s Sky’s decision to evolve the series, and you know what, I wish them the best.
“Yeah, you may be disappointed that this is over for these guys. But they did it brilliantly.
“But why does he have to be motivated by race?” What does this have to do with Black Lives Matter, or the fact that black people may have the opportunity to get these jobs? What?’.
Scott responded to Wright’s tweet with four heart emoticons.
After the decision to fire Le Tissier, Thompson and Nicholas, Stelling tweeted: “One of my saddest days at Sky Sports with the departure of three of my best friends. They were part of a team which for me was the best.
Micah Richards presenting a match at the Etihad Stadium. The ex-Manchester City player has proven to be a popular addition to the squad with fans
Le Tissier broke his silence on Twitter on Wednesday to thank those with whom he has worked
Some Twitter users criticized black and female pundits after Sky Sports sacked Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas and Matt Le Tissier (pictured)
Nicholas, who was soccer Saturday for many years, is among those sacked
The three men were reportedly informed Tuesday during a meeting with broadcast chiefs that their time on the iconic show was over.
Former Southampton superstar and England ace Le Tissier, 51, was a hugely popular member of host Stelling’s Saturday squad, although it has been controversial on several occasions in the past.
Earlier this season, Le Tissier caused a stir when responding to comments regarding his and Sky’s public support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign, saying he would assess his own personal position.
Le Tissier says bosses asked him to wear the Black Lives Matter badge, but stressed that he “could not support” the anti-police and capitalist goals of the cause.
The 51-year-old criticized the movement’s ‘far-left ideology’ – black footballer Karl Henry also called the group a ‘divisive’.
Earlier this month, Le Tissier announced that he would be temporarily quitting the social media platform Twitter, saying he had been targeted on multiple occasions by cyber bullies who tried to force him to quit his job.
A number of social media users support Wright, Scott and Richards
Phil Thompson, a longtime expert and former Liverpool captain, will also leave
Thompson said his 22 years on the show were “amazing” and wished the show good luck.
The Southampton legend had been outspoken on social media about a variety of topics, including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Following personal criticism, the retired playmaker released a lengthy statement detailing his position, before later denying that he identified himself as an “anti-vaxxer”.
Le Tissier wrote: “Yes, I have made mistakes and mistakes in judgment in the past, which I regret, but I believe that the good I have done far outweighs the mistakes.
“I have immense sympathy for anyone who loses a loved one for any health reason, I recently lost my grandfather so I know what it feels like.
“You trolls and robots who try to put me down with your sarcastic remarks trying to make it clear that I am an indifferent individual who has no empathy, you cannot be further from the truth and I am incredibly sorry for you that there is so little joy in your life that you resort to it.
“I really hope you will find happiness soon.
Le Tissier has since returned to Twitter following the news of his departure, writing: “I enjoyed my time at sky sports, time to look forward to the next life challenge, thanks for the support over. years and a special thank you to the backroom team. .. good luck everyone, have a nice day.
Like Le Tissier, former Liverpool captain Thompson had also been a mainstay of the Sky show and considered a charismatic figure on the show.
Speaking on Twitter after his dismissal, he said: “I spent 22 years with @SkySports.
“I enjoyed every minute of it with amazing people on the show and behind the scenes, which made it the iconic show it is today. Good luck to Sky, Jeff, Merse and the new gang on @SoccerSaturday.
Thompson, Le Tissier and Nicholas exchanged jibes regularly with each other, while letting out cries of joy or anguish immediately recognizable at goals or narrow misses.
Sky Sports are now expected to bring some new faces for the upcoming campaign, to refresh the popular football show and keep Soccer Saturday up to date.