John Terry escapes the thought police – real racism exists beyond football
THANKS to Chelsea captain John Terry and Anton Ferdinand, the court of Great Britain and Northern Ireland know that ‘FBC’ stands for “fucking black cunt”. The other thing we know is that an innocent man – Terry might be a dislikable oik but he is no racist – can be condemned by the right minded with a cause.
Comments on Terry have come thick and thicker. Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand showcased his stupidity with a tweet about Ashley Cole being a “choc ice”. Cole held the sensible opinion that the matter should never have reached court.
Duwayne Brooks, Stephen Lawrence’s friend who was there that night when the black teenager was murdered by racists, tells The Times’ readers:
So there can be no denying that the “not guilty” verdict at Westminster Magistrates Court is a setback for those of us who want to drive racist language out of the game… A guilty verdict would have been a breath of fresh air for football at all levels in Britain.
But Terry was innocent.
Brook’s piece is grandly called “The John Terry verdict has set us back thirty years”:
He was found not guilty, but there is no denying that he referred to Anton Ferdinand’s skin colour in his on-pitch dispute.
The article ends:
Duwayne Brooks is a Lewisham Councillor and author of Steve and Me: My Friendship with Stephen Lawrence and the Search for Justice
Odd that a man championing justice should find the justice system so flawed. What of the rule of law. What of innocent unless proven guilty? Does anyone really think Terry’s words take us bak to the early 1980s, when the police were openly racist and fans chucked bananas at black footballers?
The one big shock to the righteous tuning into the case in the media and courts is that football – that marketed, shiny version featuring the crowd as extras and the – dread phrase – “football family” – is still a sport that seduced so many of us to love it. Football does not operate on a higher level to the rest of society. Players are not role models. Using them to educated and re-educate the masses is bonkers; who in their right mind would want their children to be educated by John Terry, Rio Ferdinand or Ashley Cole?
This is why the Terry-Ferdinand case end up in court? It was not about supporting or disliking John Terry. It was about the powers that be educating the masses, proving to the world that the country will not tolerate racism in any form, even if it is unintentional.
Football is no more or less racist that any other part of life. But it is more entertaining. And one thing fans love is a spot of argy-bargy on the pitch. If it gets out of hand, the referee has cards to warn and punish players with. But people outside the game want to change football. They see it as means to educate the white working class fans, the very people more likely to work with and live by black and Asians.
Are footballers responsible for racism? No. Is John Terry a racist. No. He has not denied equal opportunity to his black teammates. Terry comes across as an unpleasant man but in the curent cimate to be a racist is to be a heretic, one who goes against all that the enlightened hold sacred. He would become an example of their goodness. Take a look at the lead magistrate’s words in his lengthy summing up:
“There is then the fact that nobody (apart from John Terry) has given evidence about hearing what was said. Either nobody heard it, or nobody was prepared to come to court and tell me what they heard. Anton Ferdinand says he did not hear it. The defence pointed out that this is surprising as the words were clearly directed at him at a time when he was facing John Terry and involved in an exchange of insults with him. I bear in mind the significant distance between the two men at the time; the noise and the evidence of Mr Cole that he could not hear what was said by either person.”
And on that ‘evidence’ the Crown Prosecution Service approved the matter for court. This was about the CPS looking on-message.
In the build up to Terry’s verbals, his mother had been called a “slag”. This is similar to the case of Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. Before referring to Patrice Evra as “negrito”, and getting an eight-match ban for it, Evra, reportedly, had made a rude comment about Suarez’s sister’s vagina. Which is the worse crime? Footballer’s wind each other up by saying anything to upset their opponent during the match. Language requires context. Without context we are guessing at meaning. We are in the realm of thought crime.
The media and political big thinkers have gotten sanctimonious about language. Clive Efford MP, Labour’s Shadow Sports Minister, told us:
“The courts have said John Terry did not deny using those words. Notwithstanding the fact that the court has found him not guilty, the language he used has no place on any football pitch in any context whatsoever.”
So says the Labour MP. He’s hot on hurt language, isn’t he. Hermay care to look around the Labour Party for a black face to endorse his stand. He may then care to look at the nation’s columnists, their newspaper editors, the BBC news readers on Newsnight, the Shadow Cabinet, the Cabinet, the CEOs of FTSE 100 companies, the Royal Family and so on. He wants to highlight racism. He can’t handle it. He can then look at the numbers of black faces playing football. If football is rife with racism, what of the Houses of Commons and Lords?
The other big racism story in football was Liverpool striker Luiz Suarez. He was banned for eight matches for calling Manchester United’s Patrice Evra “negrito”. Take a look at what he said in the UK and what he said while overseas:
“I have spoken with the manager since the game at Old Trafford and I realise I got things wrong. I’ve not only let him down, but also the Club and what it stands for and I’m sorry. I made a mistake and I regret what happened. I should have shaken Patrice Evra’s hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions. I would like to put this whole issue behind me and concentrate on playing football” – Luis Suarez, February 12.
“In England, it was shown the moment when I passed in front of him, but they didn’t see that he had his hand low before. Only the media in Uruguay and Spain showed that I wanted to shake his hand. Previously, I had promised my wife, the manager and the directors that I was going to shake hands with Evra. There was a chance for the teams not to shake hands like in a game between QPR and Chelsea [following the Anton Ferdinand-John Terry racism row], but I told them I was to shake hands with him. ‘Why not?’, I thought, because I had no problems with him. I had been punished because of him, but I had no problems with shaking hands” – Luis Suarez, July 17.
Might it be that the FA, the CPS, the Labour Party and more are not highlighting “rife” racism in the national game, rather seeking it out for their own ends?