John Terry may have been acquitted of the charge that he used racist language in Chelsea’s game at QPR last October, but the whole sordid episode has dragged football to new depths.
Both Terry and QPR’s Anton Ferdinand accept that foul and abusive is an acceptable part of the game. Terry did say it was all pretty “childish” but that it was normal behavior and “everyday talk”. Ferdinand said it was fine to be called a word beginning with C that has Anglo-Saxon roots, but when his colour was brought into it, then it became “hurtful”. How pathetic. How sad. How predictable.
It’s time to clean-up football and introduce a better moral code. But as one article in The Independent noted in its summary of the mentality of footballers:
“These are men who grew up in football, whose dedication to the sport in their formative years left little scope for education”.
I must admit, I have long had the view of professional footballers that they are largely ignorant, egotistical, deluded and overpaid. Terry’s £130,000 a week underlines that – and so does his long record of bad behavior that includes drunkenness, violence, infidelity and accusations of financial irregularities. There are now rumours he has gambling problems.
There are exceptions, but generally, if there is any hint of a cerebral player challenging the status quo, they are derided – just recall how Robbie Fowler treated Graeme Le Saux in the 1990s.
Terry will go back to Chelsea and resume his career – if anything this whole affair will only enhance his “legend” status with the fans. This highlights that sometimes, the game’s values are indeed warped.
James Lawton reported that football is “a game happy to roll along in the gutter of no limits”. If that is the case, then the nation’s number one sport deserves the characters that continue to blight its name.