The FA has found Chelsea captain John Terry guilty of racially abusing QPR player Anton Ferdinand. Terry has never denied he said the words, ‘You f…Black c…t. But has consistently argued it was always in the context of a question, ‘are you saying I called you a f…black c…t? ‘
During his court trial, the District Judge decided that because he couldn’t be absolutely sure that Terry had said the words in a menacing way. Therefore he could not find him guilty. However, the Football Association did not have to prove certainty but probability, and on that basis they found Terry guilty.
In many ways our judicial systems have worked. It was surely right not to convict Terry without absolute certainty. Meaning, he does not have a criminal record. But right that they find him guilty at the lesser level of probability. Why?
Well, there are some areas in Terry’s defence that just don’t stack up. Firstly, Terry initially denied he had said those words until it was shown to him on TV. Secondly, if Terry was having a conversation with Anton Ferdinand to ascertain whether or not he said those words, surely Ferdinand would be the first to come to his defence. If you are running someone down then whether they respond or not is immaterial. However, if it is a question you’d want an answer to you’d make sure the other person was listening, and you also might expect to see a hand gesture.
The first Anton Ferdinand new about the abuse was when a member of the public made the complaint having seen it on TV.
Once Ferdinand had seen he was rightly deeply offended.
Finally Terry’s capacity to tell blatant lies was seen vividly when he was sent off for kneeing a Barcelona opponent in the back stating ‘I wouldn’t do that’. Later having seen the video he retracted that statement and said, ‘That looks bad’.
This whole episode has left a long cloud over British football. It has cost an England manager, Fabio Capello, his job. Left Rio Ferdinand with a 45k fine for laughing at someone calling Ashley Cole a ‘Choc ice’-a derogatory racial slur. Also death threats and abuse towards Anton Ferdinand, and pit Black players against Black players.
We should, however, be pleased the FA stood firm. Terry’s well paid lawyers may have been able to convince a criminal court that they could not definitely say what Terry’s intentions were. The FA on the other hand would not be fooled. My feeling is that they-the FA- have only given him a four match ban to discourage him from appealing, seeking instead to end the saga. I hope Terry humbly accepts his punishment and even privately calls Anton to apologise. After all, who hasn’t in the heat of the moment said something they’d rather regret. Truth is, it is amazing what a heartfelt quick apology could have achieved. I’m pretty sure too Ferdinand would have accepted that too.
The video which captures the incident between Terry and Ferdinand can be viewed by clicking here.