OUTSPOKEN TV host Piers Morgan has sparked fury after criticising Olympic hero Sir Chris Hoy for not singing the national anthem.
Morgan said he was “disappointed” that the Scots cycling champ – who became the most successful British Olympian of all time yesterday – didn’t sing God Save The Queen as he collected his sixth gold medal, calling his behaviour “a bit off”.
The former Daily Mirror editor was branded a “pompous fool” and a “grumpy old man,” by fans of 36-year-old Hoy, who took to Twitter to slate Morgan for his controversial comments.
The row erupted yesterday evening, when Morgan, (47), tweeted to his 2.5million followers: “Very happy for Sir Chris Hoy that he won another Gold. But disappointed he didn’t sing the anthem. He accepted a Knighthood, after all.
Minutes later he continued to moan: “Sir Chris hasn’t sung the anthem all Olympics. It’s not emotion stopping him. He just doesn’t want to. Which for a Knight is a bit off
He added: “In fact, none of the cyclists (Wiggins, Hoy, Trott etc) have sung it, apart from the magnificent Queen Victoria – wonder why.”
His outspoken comments were met by fury by some of his Twitter followers, with Darrell Brady, writing: “Does it matter? He’s obviously immensely proud, as should you be, stop finding fault where there is none you pompous fool.”
Nikki Scrivener also took offense, tweeting the journalist: “It’s not a case of being anti-anthem. We just have no right to judge people on whether or not they sing it.”
Ted Mosby said: “If you are so patriotic, then why did you leave England and move to America? Hypocrisy at its utmost.”
Danielle Blange added: “Bore off you grumpy old man!”
Following the barrage of abuse, Morgan defended his earlier tweets, writing: “I love the Scots, Welsh, English and N-Irish. But sorry, when you play for Great Britain, you sing the damn GB anthem – which is GSTQ. End.
“I’m not ‘slagging off’ Chris Hoy. He’s a genius cyclist and a great guy. I just wish he’d sing the national anthem, that’s all.”
Sir Chris Hoy, from Edinburgh, has chosen not to react to Piers Morgan’s comments, instead tweeting his support for the “phenomenal” Team GB and posting a photo of a Royal Mail post box that was painted gold in his honour.
Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman and Lothians MSP David McLetchie said Piers Morgan was an attention seeker.
He said: “Sir Chris Hoy was the flag bearer for Team GB – his patriotism is not in doubt.
“This is an insulting cheap shot from a pathetic attention seeker.”
Sandy Howat, SNP councillor for Meadows / Morningside, where Chris Hoy went to school, said Piers Morgan’s comments were “laughable”.
He said: “Piers Morgan is making a laughable attempt at self-publicity.
“Chris Hoy is an outstanding Olympian and we should be very proud of him. I wonder if the same question would have been asked if Chris Hoy was English?
“He is a great athlete and seemed to be trying very hard to compose himself on the winner’s podium, I doubt he could have sung the national anthem if he wanted to.
“Chris has done Edinburgh proud.”
Earlier on this week Morgan vowed he would donate £1,000 to charity each time an Olympic athlete sang the national anthem, “I’ll donate £1,000 to @GreatOrmondSt for each #TeamGB gold-winning athlete who sings GSTQ,” he wrote.