Gary Lineker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer were all missing from Saturday night’s bizarre 20-minute episode of Match of the Day.
Wright and Shearer showed solidarity with Lineker by refusing to work on Saturday’s show after the BBC’s highest-paid star was temporarily suspended.
Lineker’s tweet criticising the government’s new asylum policy led to an impartiality row and then a full-blown crisis at BBC headquarters.
The BBC’s sporting coverage has been severely disrupted this weekend, with various members of staff refusing to work until Lineker is reinstated.
Saturday’s historic episode of MOTD featured no music, analysis or commentary.
Read more: Match of the Day 20-minute episode without Gary Lineker was so bizarre
How Lineker reacted to Wright and Shearer’s show of solidarity
The Mirror have spoken to Lineker’s eldest son, George, who revealed how his dad reacted when Wright and Shearer pulled out of Saturday’s MOTD as a show of support for their friend and colleague.
George said: “After it all kicked off, me and my brothers messaged him saying: ‘We’re proud of you’ and he replied: ‘Cheers boys’ with a thumbs up emoji.
“Later he told us that he’d been so overwhelmed by the support. He wrote: ‘Shearer and Wrighty backing down made me emotional, it means a lot to me.’
“I think he did cry when he found out about that. The support has been a positive thing to come out of this. I’ve been messaging him today, just saying: ‘How are you doing Dad, how are you holding up?’ And he replied: ‘All good.’”
Lineker clearly appreciates Wright and Shearer’s solidarity, and many loyal MOTD viewers will be hoping to see the trio reunited on the world’s most famous football show in the near future.
“To take him off the air for having a voice is harsh, and I think he was surprised, and a bit disappointed,” Lineker’s son added.
“Free speech is important and he shouldn’t have been punished for that. But the reaction to all of this has been more than Dad ever thought it would be, and that just shows he did the right thing.”
Lineker was at the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon to watch his beloved Leicester City lose 3-1 to Chelsea.
Read more: Kai Havertz scores stunning goal for Chelsea vs Leicester City from Enzo Fernandez assist
It’s currently unclear how – or when – the matter will be resolved.
But unless the BBC reach an agreement with Lineker soon they run the risk of losing arguably Britain’s best football presenter – and possibly some of his colleagues, too.
Read more: Gary Lineker ‘offered new job’ one day after being suspended by BBC