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Racism is a touchy subject at the best of times and it has the ability to divide whole communities, it’s difficult to generalise and often what one person “feels” is racist another may not. One of the biggest problems we deal with when it comes to racism is its often not dealt with on a level playing field.
The case of John Terry in the British press, captain of the English football team and Chelsea FC during a match at QPR said something to Antonio Ferdinand brother of Rio Ferdinand another high profile British footballer. What was said prior to the eventual court case was never published however the press had signed sealed and convicted John Terry with what little reference and information they had Terry was guilty of being a racist.
Once going to court what Terry said was revealed and it was indeed racist no matter what context you put it in from light banter between players to out and out kkk the comment should not had been made. The court didn’t convict or charge Terry over this however the FA footballs ruling body quite rightly slapped the player with a 4 match ban. Even as a Chelsea supporter I would have been happy to see a longer ban because there is no place for this in life in general not just football.
There is also however no place for the press to be judge and jury in the court of popular opinion because its all good when they are right, it destroys lives when the apology is printed in the bottom left corner of page 12.
With all this in mind, this week Chelsea football club find themselves embroiled in another racist incident, this time the club are accusing the referee of making an in appropriate comment about Chelsea player John Obi Mikel. The club have not said what the referee allegedly said however a quick google search infers that the match referee referred to the Black player as a Monkey.
Again, if this is true there is no place for this in football, and action by the authorities needs to be taken, by the authorities not the press who yet again are having a field day with this. Other events also happened at the Chelsea v Man U match which was a fast paced affair where 2 Chelsea players were sent off, post match tensions were high and allegedly a brawl broke out in the changing room area..
What is worrying me however is how the authorities are handling this, not swiftly as they promised post the John Terry case but in a drawn out manner.
Unlike the Terry case where the accuser Anton Ferdinand was assumed to have been right, this time round the press have decided that the referee is innocent and Chelsea shouldn’t be making these claims, referees are speaking of boycotting Chelsea matches, the manager of Man U is making derogatory comments about Chelsea FC the list goes on..
So when did the rules change? When did it become ok to make allegations about Chelsea players but not for a Chelsea player to make allegations against others on the field of play? When did referees become untouchable?
The FA needs to be careful with this case and others following it, there is obviously an underlying current of racism seen as banter or excusable by individuals which is wrong and needs to be wiped out. The playing field needs to be levelled and the ground rules reaffirmed or this is just going to get worse. Even more so however is anyone who feels an inappropriate comment racist, gender, sexual whatever in any place needs to feel comfortable that they can do so without repercussion and with due course or effect..