Saturday, September 29, 2012

John Terry - The Guilty Verdict

Guest post: Back in July Richie Moran - anti-racist activist and ex-professional footballer - wrote a piece for Inside Left assessing the levels of racism in the beautiful game following John Terry's acquittal from charges of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
This week the Football Association found the Chelsea captain guilty of the same charge, banning him for four games and fining him £220,000. Before the verdict was revealed Terry called time on his England career. In this guest post Richie returns to put the case and its result into perspective.

As ever with football related matters, the breathtaking arrogance of many of those involved leaves me almost apoplectic with rage. Luckily as ever the simplicity with which most of the arguments can be shot down with just a few seconds thought gives me some sustenance.
The simple fact. John Terry was guilty of aiming a disgusting racist remark at Anton Ferdinand. I predicted before the case that he would be found not guilty. Before writing an article on the matter I read Judge Riddles summing up. He fully accepted that Terry called Ferdinand a "fucking black cunt", but that it could not be proven that it was meant in a derogatory or insulting manner.As someone who has heard similar terms far too many times in my 49 years, I was not aware that there were any other ways to say it! As I stated in the article, having heard one of the players in my sons Under 15 side called a "dirty nigger" by an opposition member last season, Riddle has merely given carte blanche for anyone to now get away with such language.I would go so far to say that Riddles conclusion perhaps speaks volumes for his (and the white establishments) views on race!!!

So Teflon John was judged not guilty in a court of law. So what. Policeman Simon Harwood was (again wholly predictably) found not guilty of the manslaughter of Ian Tomlinson, despite a coroners verdict of unlawful killing. Some years ago I gave a speech at New Scotland Yard where in front of the top policemen in London, I read out a list of black men who had died in police custody. I then read an adjoining list of those who had found to be unlawfully killed by a coroner, yet no policeman had ever been charged with murder or manslaughter.The Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, Cardiff Three and so many more, all found guilty in a court of law, but subsequently found to be innocent. There are innumerable members of the Commons and Lords who in the last couple of years have been guilty of fraud, deception and perjury (the Prime Minister had to repay 10k in 'expenses'), yet how many of them such as the odious Peter Viggers even had to face trial?

From articles I have written, research I have done and conversations I have had, there are many men walking the streets of this country who have committed rape. Alternatively there are still many innocent people serving time in prison. So is it entirely inconceivable that a racist can be found not guilty of using the aforementioned term?

Again the FA are quite happy to have as the national team manager a man who quite happily took the money of one of history's most racist regimes and has form for dismissing anti-semitic slurs, claimed by Eyal Berkovic, when he was manager at Blackburn. Likewise was the Under 21's manager, not once found to have racially abused Paul Ince? As I have stated before the fact that these and the likes of Ashley Cole and the Chelsea and Liverpool players who defended Terry and Suarez (and the English transcript of what he actually said to Evra is far worse than the sanitised so called cultural misunderstanding) were pictured at Auschwitz and Oskar Schindlers factory during Euro 2012 makes me sick to my stomach.
Just in case people don't get any of this and especially for Mr. Cole. When you and Ashley Young missed penalties in Euro 2012, most of the tweets I read did not refer to you being unable to hit the target from 12 yards did they? Furthermore when Jon Obi Mikel's mistake led to a Juventus equaliser in the Champions League the fact that he may not be a Xavi or Iniesta was not the premier concern.

It was obvious again for football to retain the minuscule shred of credibility that it still has that Terry would be found guilty (I sincerely hope that Ferdinand brings a civil case against him) and also equally predictable that his ban would be shorter than that of Suarez and only one game longer than the tackle by Jonjo Shelvey, whose momentum carried him into Johnny Evans, who went in two footed in last weekend's Liverpool v Manchester United fixture. I'm sure that the non-racist multi-millionaire will be extremely troubled by the 200k fine!

It would be nice for once if some of the leading black players and commentators such as Garth Crooks (surely the most sycophantic man in history) actually spoke out and condemned Terry. John Barnes comments about Terry being an unconscious racist (although it's a nice thought) are, again, wholly predictable and having shared a speakers platform with him as risible as one might expect.

All of you, stop repeating the mantra that it is time to move on and draw a line under such events.It is 2012 and indeed we should have moved on, but someone tell me how we can when a man who is supposed to as a (former of course) captain of your national side and therefore someone who one might reasonably expect to be some sort of role model is arrogant enough to insist he has done nothing wrong, backed up by not only his black team mates (who are suitably bereft of shame) and a moronic racist element of his club and country supporters.

I will be at the opening of a Black History Month event on Monday and will be getting together with people to try and take some sort of action against those who perpetrate, condone and support the continuation of racism and racist behaviour.
The beautiful game (like the appropriate acronym FA), is as much an oxymoron as honour killing or American intelligence.