Hypocrisy over England captain’s “racism”


For well over a week the English media have been obsessed by allegations of racist comments by England and Chelsea captain John Terry, supposedly directed at Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during the televised QPR v Chelsea game on 23rd October.

TV pictures clearly show Terry speaking the words “f**king black c**t” in Ferdinand’s direction.  It is sad but unsurprising in 2011 that the obscenities are uncontroversial: it’s only the word “black” that has got Terry into trouble, and had the words “f**king c**t” been directed at (for example) Ferdinand’s white team mate Shaun Derry, there would have been no complaints.

Terry’s immediate reaction was to claim that the film actually caught the end – not of a racist comment, but a denial of a racist comment!  He maintained that he thought Ferdinand had complained of racial comments that he hadn’t made, so what the camera showed (in Terry’s submission) was his response: “I never called you a f**king black c**t”!

Far more important than the credibility of Terry’s instant excuse is that none of the manufactured outrage over the affair has set it in context.  Terry’s Chelsea colleagues were facing a surprise defeat against their newly promoted London rivals and had already had two players sent off.  Then Terry was struck by Ferdinand’s elbow as they each jumped for the ball: not an uncommon event, and not uncommonly (at any level of football) leading to harsh words, soon forgotten.

The uncommon factors at Loftus Road that day were the presence of high definition TV cameras that zoomed in on Terry, and the all-pervasive influence of a race relations industry ready to pounce.

Terry’s alleged comments happened to coincide with the massively publicised week of action for the Kick Racism Out of Football campaign, which sees players and managers across the country obliged to wear “anti-racist” promotional badges, and a plethora of campaign events funded by the football industry and by central and local government.

Woe betide anyone in football who resists being drawn into this political circus.

The innocent ethnic hero of the hour is of course Anton Ferdinand.  Long forgotten is his previous starring role in an earlier fracas.  In November 2007 he was acquitted at London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court after being charged with assault and affray during a brawl outside Faces nightclub in Ilford during the early hours of 2nd October 2006.

This was the sort of activity one expects from typical New Londoners in the 21st century.  The prosecution claimed that Ferdinand’s cousin had started a fight at the club, and that the footballer had later joined in.  Ferdinand told the jury that he had been acting in self defence because he was afraid that his £64,000 watch was about to be stolen.

Despite the Crown Prosecution Service carefully selecting a barrister called Alex Agbamu to lead their case, so as to avoid allegations of “racism”, the jury believed Ferdinand’s defence and he walked free from court.

He ran out of luck three years later when he was convicted of using a mobile phone while driving and was banned from driving for six months.

Earlier this year Ferdinand was in the headlines again for non-footballing reasons when he blew £6,000 in five minutes at a roulette table in the 24-hour Aspers nightclub in Newcastle.

For as long as the public remains willing to continue handing over the cash, the likes of Ferdinand will be happy to spend it.  And the media’s “anti-racist” circus will continue to hail them as heroes.

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