Gary Lineker's child refugee comments led to 'spanking' by BBC but won't cost job
Gary Lineker has admitted his comments about child refugees had led him to get "a bit of a spanking".
But the TV personality is confident his job is safe.
There have been calls for the BBC to sack the Match Of The Day host for wading into the debate after he said public treatment of the young migrants arriving in the UK this week was "hideously racist", sparking criticism.
The Sun newspaper claimed the broadcaster was "under pressure to fire" the retired footballer, but Lineker dismissed the story.
His intervention came after concerns were raised about the age of those being transferred from the Calais Jungle camp as part of a new fast-track system to help vulnerable youngsters.
A number of the arrivals were accused of looking considerably older than 18, prompting him to post on Twitter: "The treatment by some towards these young refugees is hideously racist and utterly heartless. What's happening to our country?"
In response to the criticism, Lineker tweeted: "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.
"Must say though, I'm rather chuffed to have been called a 'luvvie'."The 55-year-old also responded to one Twitter user who claimed he "deserved" to lose his job, saying "I won't".
Slightly overwhelmed by the support on here today to be honest. Thank you.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 21, 2016
Gary Lineker will go down in history as a hero of the Left— Mollie Goodfellow (@hansmollman) October 21, 2016
Never seen a football game in my life, but suddenly a big fan of Lineker. Standing up for compassion & tolerance. https://t.co/U8iTasqqi8— James Wong (@Botanygeek) October 21, 2016
What we're witnessing in coverage of Lily Allen and Gary Lineker is an attempt to make compassion towards refugees socially unacceptable— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) October 21, 2016
Guess I'm a massive Gary Lineker fan now then— Abi Wilkinson (@AbiWilks) October 21, 2016
As a Scotsman, I obviously have to hate England legend Gary Lineker (in a pantomime way). But as a human being....gotta love him really. https://t.co/Zv3sSJpp9o— David Socha (@DSSocha) October 21, 2016
Hold the bus. So Lineker should be sacked for wanting to show refugees compassion, but it's fine for Hopkins to say they're cockroaches?— Liz (@strengthtodream) October 21, 2016