Ian Wright has revealed that he got in touch with Alexandre Lacazette to check the striker was okay after he and the Match of the Day team mocked him for a reaction to a challenge during Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Burnley.
Lacazette hit the deck after a coming together with Clarets defender Erik Pieters and the Frenchman’s screams could clearly be heard on pitchside microphones as they echoed around an empty Turf Moor.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche joked that the ‘scream-o-meter’ hit new heights in his post-match press conference and the incident was brought up again later that evening as Gary Lineker, Dion Dublin and Wright dissected the day’s play in the BBC Sport studio.
Just before the credits rolled, Wright and his MOTD colleagues began to writhe around in their chairs and let out exaggerated screams and short clip of their ridiculing Lacazette quickly went viral across social media.
Arteta has since moved to shut down the criticism aimed at Lacazette and club legend Wright discussed the ‘mistake’ he feels he made by singling out the forward’s reaction on his Wrighty’s House podcast for Ringer FC.
‘The fact is that screaming has always been a problem for me with the guys,’ the iconic ex-Arsenal and England attacker said.
‘Now we can hear it and we’re talking about massive screams to the point where you’re thinking, “Oh my God, something’s wrong with this player!”
‘This week it just happened to be Lacazette and, like I say, I got that wrong but what I did, when you see all the s*** that comes back… and in hindsight, of course the s*** is going to come back, especially with the fact it was an Arsenal player and it’s me. And me and Laca go back and we’ve got correspondence.
‘I got in touch with him on Sunday morning so we could clear it up. I explained that this is not a direct… the way it was portrayed on social media, the way it was and it was Laca in that particular incident, it seemed it was digging out Laca. But we were digging out the screaming.
‘My biggest mistake was the screaming at the end. F***ing stupid and at the end of the day, it’s not a problem for Gary Lineker or Dion Dublin. But at the same time I have to accept and realise what that means to the Arsenal fanbase and what that means to me for them to feel like one of their own is supposedly digging them out.
‘I can only say I was digging out the screaming. We’re talking about people that are screaming, they get up and then they play on.
‘If he stayed down or if a player stays down, let’s talk about Raul Jimenez. As we speak, we don’t even know if he’s going to play again so I don’t want to make it too much of a massive thing but the screaming, for me, from anyone is not necessary.’
Wright said he had spoken with BBC bosses to ensure that, going forward, there will be a greater level of ‘consistency’ in their coverage.
He added: ‘In the office, as soon as there’s a foul, everybody does the scream and I said to them that if there was no consistency – because what we saw was a lot of people mentioning Harry Kane, mentioning this one, mentioning that – if they’re not going to do it with them…
‘I’ve spoken to the BBC, I spoke to the main boss. I said, “If that’s not going to happen then I’m compromised and I can’t afford for Lacazette and Arsenal fans and people to feel that I’m ridiculing a player”. I’m ridiculing the screaming.
‘The main thing was putting that right with Laca. I’m not bothered about what comes back but I needed to make sure he was okay and he was.’
Asked whether he simply reached out to Laca, Wright replied: ‘Absolutely, I had to.
‘He said, “It’s nothing, man. That’s not a thing, bro” and I said: “I’m glad you’re okay”.
‘Sometimes what I see with social media is that they want this f***ing roundhouse pile-on.
‘It’s like they want to see what the fly looks like when you’ve pulled its wings off and they want to just watch that. It’s really tiring.’