In praise of Ashley Cole – he’s right about Terry, the FA and Shearer
CAN we now all agree to like Ashley Cole? The Chelsea player was the one person we can say was racially abused in the ongoing saga of the FA versus John Terry. Rio Ferdinand called Cole a “choc-ice“.
Terry, of course, uttered the words “fucking black cunt” in the direction of QPR’s Anton Ferdinand. Westminster magistrates ruled that Terry, who said his words were sarcastic, had committed no criminal offence. Still, the FA said Terry was not a racist but had said racist things. He was guilty of unwitting racism, fined and banned.
The FA wants us to get the moral message. Sod the law. Sod actual racism. We need to be educated. Clive Efford MP, Labour’s Shadow Sports Minister, agrees:
“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…The FA must now reinforce confidence in that approach, restate their complete commitment to stamping out racism and build on the work that has been done to date, to send the message to every member of our society that racism in any form cannot be tolerated.”
But the law says it wasn’t racism. Got it?
When Labour MP Tam Dalyell complained of a “cabal of Jewish advisers” influencing Tony Blair, Efford was silent. Can it be that football must be better than politics? Football, sport of the white working class, needs to be policed for signs of racism.
The MPs and the elite love to tell us how important influential footballers are. But these elite are just using anti-racism to show off their own worthiness. Did you see many black editors at the Leveson Inquiry? See many black faces on the front benches of the three main political parties? See any black faces at gatherings of the Royal Family, whether in Windsor or Las Vegas? Football is notable for its lack of racism. Is race a barrier to a footballer getting on in Britain? No. Is it a barrier to, say a black man presenting the weather on the BBC? Maybe. But the opportunistic high and mighty are so keen to bind us with a cause that name calling during a game of football becomes a matter of national importance. If a “role model” like John Terry can say “black cunt”, then very soon all white working class kids will be at it.
The FA’s rulebook, says the use of racial term elevates the offence. There is an “increased sanction” if the accused made “a reference to any one or more of a person’s ethnic origin, colour, race”. Slurs on sexual orientations remain in the realm of “threatening, abusive, indecent or insulting words or behaviour”.
It’s a wonder the FA’s E3, from which those quotes are taken, doesn’t result in mass bans and fines after every football match. But, then, it’s not always that a desperate-to-be-liked police get involved.
And what of Efford’s view that context doesn’t matter? Anyone sane knows that it does. Things are said under provocation and in the heat of a moment. After “FCB”, Terry sought out Ferdinand and, as the FA’s report states:
“Mr Terry then shook Mr Ferdinand’s hand and the latter left the dressing room.”
Terry might well be an odious dickhead, but that’s not a crime. But the righteous got their teeth into the matter. In a bid to pin something on Terry, the FA tried to prove that he has form:
Barcelona case: Comments made by Terry after he was sent off against Barcelona in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final for kneeing Alexis Sanchez where he was reported to have said it was not “deliberate” were considered. Insufficient evidence meant they could not place any weight on this, but the incident did “undermine” character witnesses who suggest Terry has “preternatural reserves of self-control”.
A foul, and the player’s expression that he thought the challenge fair is a sign that the player is of poor character and behaves badly on the pitch?
Back to Ashley Cole, who reacted to the news that Terry had been banned and fined by the FA for the “FCB” affair with the tweet:
“Hahahahaaaaaa. Well done #FA. I lied did I? BUNCH OF TW***.”
Cole went to court and testified in Terry’s defence. It was Cole who told the court “we shouldn’t be sitting here”.
Cole is understandably upset. The FA’s report features the chapter “evolution of Ashley Cole’s evidence”. It states:
The word “black” was introduced into Ashley Cole’s statement retrospectively with a view to bolstering Terry’s defence, the report says. But it said that the nature of recollections from Chelsea club secretary David Barnard cast doubt on the claim that Cole heard Ferdinand use the word “black” when insulting Terry. Cole’s initial statement referred to an unidentified “b-word” but did not use the word “black”. Barnard then made subsequent claims, regarding swear words, which were not consistent with initial statements.
In other words, Cole lied. You can read the “evolution” of Cole here.
And so to the next stage of the horror story. On BBC’s Match of the Day, Alan Shearer called for Cole to be suspended for the San Marino game. Tweets must be stamped out:
“I think the FA can put a big statement out here by actually not fining him but actually banning him on Friday. Because we’ve seen players fined £50,000, £60,000, £70,000. That’s not a deterrent to them. Stopping them from playing football will be a deterrent. If they do it quickly, if they do it in four to five days, I think it puts a big statement out to the rest of the players.”
Cole then retweeted this opinion:
“Alan Shearer says @TheRealAC3 needs to be banned for comments. I want his opinion on bans for kicking Neil Lennon in the head. #GlassHouses.”
Well, yes. Cole is right again.
In 1998, Shearer’s boot came into contact with the head of Leicester City’s Neil Lennon. Any sanction from the FA would have resulted in Shearer, the then England captain, looking less than pure and missing Newcastle’s FA Cup final. A three-man FA commission ruled that Shearer had not deliberately kicked an opponent in the face.
But because it is all about race, let’s leave you with this: Alan Shearer is white. Ashley Cole is black. Just sayin’…