On Friday the 13th of all days, John Terry was cleared for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand in the Premier League West London derby back in October 2011. It was a talking point in the sport which ran parallel with the Suarez/Evra saga as well as Panorama’s report into racism in the European Championship host countries, Poland and Ukraine.
Football has been investigated with a fine tooth comb in the past season for re-igniting the racism debate which, thanks to the Kick It Out scheme, seemed to be extinguished for many a year. Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing French and Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra just weeks prior to the Ferdinand/Terry incident.
Suarez was suspended for eight matches without substantial evidence against the Liverpool forward but nonetheless the FA found it fit to suspend the Uruguayan and fine him £40,000.
Even FIFA president, Sepp Blatter couldn’t quell the racism within football. Rio Ferdinand took to Twitter to confront the Swiss chief after he stated that racism could be cured with “a handshake."
If the head of football cannot understand how racism works or doesn’t work – how can football evolve?
John Terry, the former England captain may I add, was cleared with several television slices of evidence weighing down Terry who was stripped of his captaincy first time round thanks to the exposure of his extra marital activities with former team mate Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend.
Anton Ferdinand, 27, was revealed to have mocked Terry about the incident.
The television pictures that have repeatedly been shown around the build-up towards the court case were reportedly Terry saying “f****** black c***.” Terry escaped a maximum punishment of a lowly £2,500 fine as he was adjudged to be repeating the sentence “sarcastically.”
If Terry was able to be sarcastically racist then it might not just be Sepp Blatter who doesn’t understand how racism works. If the lowly maximum fine wasn’t enough you can compared this to two Euro 2012 atrocities. Nicklas Bendtner was fined £80,000 for showing off sponsored underwear when scoring in a Group B game against Portugal whilst the Croatian football association were fined £65,000 for their fans after bananas were thrown at black players in the 1-1 draw against Italy in the Group C contest.
The answer that escapes me throughout the whole of this football season concerning racism is how Terry got off whilst Suarez was punished.
John Terry was faced with mounting evidence last Friday and escaped any sort of punishment (prior to a decision by the FA, of course), whilst in the Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra case, the Liverpool forward had an eight-match ban slapped on him whilst there was no real evidence against the Uruguayan.
Could it be that we’re trying to protect our English players whilst vilifying the likes of Suarez and Blatter no matter how right or wrong they were. Blatter’s comments were prehistoric whilst if Evra is to believed, Suarez is no saint either but maybe the fact that an England captain (at the time) being accused of racism isn’t good press for an England side going into the European Championships and a World Cup in two years’ time.
Maybe if it was a foreign Chelsea player who had abused Anton Ferdinand he wouldn’t have escaped with such luck from a court case in his home town of London, such was the fate of Terry. Some say it was the reason for Anton’s brother, Rio’s exclusion in the England team for the European Championships because of John Terry’s participation in the tournament.
Of course, Roy Hodgson was quick to extinguish such claims.
Conversely, the court case will linger over another English centre half in Anton Ferdinand for the rest of his career, leaving John Terry free to fulfill the rest of his already coveted career.