Following Chelsea’s defeat to QPR, footage of John Terry allegedly calling Anton Ferdinand a “black cunt” was circulated on the internet. Chelsea fans immediately insisted that the word being used was “blind” and scolded rival fans for thinking they were lip-reading experts.
As much as anyone hates Terry, no one should wish for him to have said something racist because that’s fairly sick. Wanting him to get in trouble or wanting him to be exposed, yet again, as a total scum bag is natural, but no one should want any racism in our game. Whatever your feelings on the national team, Terry is still the captain and still represents our country, so to have such a high profile player being outed as a racist should not be a source of happiness for any of us.
However, after the game Terry acknowledged that he had used a racial slur but insisted it was just a misunderstanding between himself and Anton Ferdinand. His statement was jumbled and didn’t make an awful lot of sense but he claimed that he had made his peace with Anton after the game and certainly was not racist.
Then it emerged that the first Anton had heard of any racism was not in the dressing room after the game, but when he was told about the footage at home and that he offered no such accusation to which Terry could respond. This sets alarm bells ringing in regards to how truthful Terry was being with his explanation of being caught saying those words.
Terry then did an exclusive with The Daily Mail insisting that he had actually said “do you think I called you a black cunt?” after a run in with Anton. People turned back to the footage and whilst Terry’s mouth is obscured from view for one second by Ashley Cole’s head, it is clear that his explanation for using the racial slur does not add up at all. There quite simply wasn’t enough time for Terry to be asking the question he claimed he did.
The FA have suspended their enquiries after the police announced they were launching an investigation. In the mean time, with the doubt over Terry’s explanation increasing, some former players, all of whom are black, have rallied around the England captain.
“He’s not a racist. It’s no excuse to say allegedly what he might have said or what anybody says towards black, white, Chinese. But if you say things in the heat of the moment it doesn’t necessarily mean you are a racist. There was probably no intent on what John Terry allegedly said. As far as I’m concerned, people say something in the heat of the moment but that doesn’t make them a racist.”
“He’s not racist. If he’s said something that’s not accepted, it wouldn’t be racist, it would be maybe just to try and upset the opposition. I’m not condoning any kind of racist comments but what I am saying is that I don’t think John Terry is a racist. He uses everything he can to try and win a game for his club.”
“I do not believe John Terry is a racist. He could have made that comment but I don’t believe that making that comment necessarily makes you a racist.”
Their responses are absolutely astonishing. How on earth can anyone, black or white, claim that calling someone a “black cunt” is acceptable banter on a football pitch? How can anyone claim that, if in the heat of the moment, the first thing that comes out of your mouth is a racial slur, that it’s not the behaviour of a racist? Either these terms are in your vocabulary or they’re not. You either use them, in the heat of the moment or as banter, or you don’t. To suggest that choosing someone’s skin colour as something to comment on in the “heat of the moment” without that person being racist is ridiculous.
Ince, Sinclair and Barnes may genuinely be of the opinion that what Terry allegedly said does not make him a racist and I’m not suggesting they have any other motive to defend him, but the damage these statements do to the Kick It Out campaign is incredible.
Can a 15-year-old in an academy match shout “black cunt” at their opponent just before they take an unfairly awarded penalty, using the justification Ince, Barnes and Sinclair have given? Can a 25-year-old do the same when playing in a Sunday league game? Can a 30-year-old do the same when paying in a Premier League game? The answer to all these questions should be a very simple “no”. In a day an age when the country is actively seeking to put a stop to all forms of racism, why are these former players saying racial slurs do have a place on the football pitch?
If Terry has said what has been alleged, then he shouldn’t play again. His off field behaviour, even when negatively impacting on the dressing room, has been brushed under the carpet but the same cannot happen here. Who wants their children to see an outed racist as their idol or inspiration?
More importantly though, whether Terry is found guilty or not, there should be a universal condemnation of using the language he has allegedly used. For these former players to suggest racial slurs are acceptable, if used to give an advantage or said accidentally in the heat of the moment, is quite frankly unforgivable.
Kick it out.