Former Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan has been accused of “hypocrisy” online, over his stance on sports stars taking a break from competing to prioritise their mental health.

In a series of back-and-forth remarks akin to an Olympic tennis match, the broadcaster slammed gymnast Simone Biles for withdrawing from competitions in Tokyo to “focus on [her] wellbeing”, only to refuse to criticise cricketer Ben Stokes for doing the same thing when he announced an “indefinite” break from the sport.

Swapping Biles for bile, Morgan wrote in MailOnline column on Wednesday: “When you call yourself the [Greatest Of All Time] in sport, you can’t then quit the moment things get tough or you make a mistake. Something I’m sure Simone Biles, in her heart, must realise because she’s a great champion and great champions just don’t do that.”

However, when one Twitter user asked the journalist for his stance on Stokes’ decision, he said he wouldn’t call it “’tremendously courageous’, ‘inspiring’ or ‘heroic’ as some are saying”.

“England will be weaker without him and I hope he’s back for the Ashes,” he added.

When another questioned if he would say to Stokes that “you have let down your team-mates, your fans and your country” – words used in the headline for his MailOnline piece, Morgan replied: “If he quit in the middle of a test match with no physical injury, leaving his teammates in the lurch like Simon Biles [sic] did, and complained he wasn’t having enough ‘fun’, then I would have said that.

“Especially if he had GOAT embroidered on his shirt.

“But he didn’t. So I didn’t.”

With the two comments contradicting each other, people were quick to accuse Morgan of “hypocrisy” and said he should support both sportspeople for their tough decision, not just Stokes:

Then there’s the fact that he once famously walked away when things were getting tough:

And the unfortunate typo, ‘Simon Biles’ – who’s probably Simone’s “long-lost brother”:

We await the day when Morgan becomes a decorated sports star to truly understand the pressure they come under.

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