Dan Walker, 43, jumped to defend his BBC colleagues Alex Scott and Micah Richards on Thursday, after they received backlash following speculation the sport pundits would be taking over presenting jobs at Sky Sports. Headlines broke earlier this week that the broadcaster had “dropped” three of their presenters from Soccer Saturday, leaving many fans believing it was a “diversity move” amid the Black Lives Matter movement.
Matt Le Tissier, Phil Thompson and Charlie Nicholas, who are familiar faces for weekend football viewers, featured on Jeff Stelling’s football show every Saturday but were “cut” ahead of the new Premier League season.
Sky Sports said of the decision: “We are changing some parts of our football coverage. Matt, Charlie and Phil have done a great job for us over the years, and they will leave us with our sincere thanks and very best wishes.”
The likes of black ex-footballers such as Scott, Richards, Clinton Morrison and Sol Campbell have been suggested as their possible replacements.
The changes have caused a division between fans; a mixed reaction with many supporting the idea and others criticising it.
On Thursday, ex-Chelsea star Scott Minto, became the latest member of the Sky Sports team to be dropped and as a result, Scott, Richards and other black pundits were targeted online, despite them having no involvement with the decision.
Scott has since broken her silence on the abuse, telling fans she had been told she was trending online.
Taking to social media, the former Strictly Come Dancing star wrote: “Gets a WhatsApp from a friend… Alex your Trending on twitter.
“Me: Is it to do with football? Friend: Yes.
“Me: [Face with rolling eyes emoji] Here we go [crying with laughter emoji].”
The former footballer recently spoke out about how trolling had affected her mental health.
She told the Mail online: “When I retired, getting trolled, I found that I was turning to drink to try and hide everything, hide what I was feeling.
“I didn’t tell anyone, I didn’t tell my mum because I didn’t want her to worry or put that stress on her.
“I was just that person (who thought) ‘I can look after myself, I can deal with stuff’ but obviously sometimes that’s the wrong way.”
The Lioness star went on to seek therapy after revealing the abuse had led her to a “dark place”.