It is naive to think we won't see people escaping charges of using 'abusive language' because the context cannot be decided
Surreal. That is probably the best way to describe my week in court for the John Terry trial. As a football fan and a sports journalist for Britain's biggest black newspaper I had a vested interest in the proceedings. I was always apprehensive about what the evidence would portray about the world of English football, and the language we heard did not disappoint.
I have been to enough football stadiums to know that many of the words used are not the kind you would say in front of your grandma. Not that this makes it acceptable, but it is well known that when footballers engage in "banter" it is normally expletive-heavy and childish.
What has disappointed, though, is the negative reception Anton Ferdinand has received. He didn't hear anything; he didn't make the complaint nor decide to bring charges against Terry. He was merely the unfortunate soul in relation to whom the words "fucking black cunt" arose on the football pitch. But the treatment the Queens Park Rangers defender has received sadly shows a dark side to some football supporters. This inherent belief that you should support your club; regardless of the reality or the circumstances. Some fans appear to ignore all notion of what is right, as they take their tribal obsession to extremes and with no consideration for those they hurt in the process.
There was something extremely crass about seeing the defendant's supporters cheering and drinking pink cava as the player left the magistrates court, surrounding by security. As the not guilty verdict was announced; his entourage in the public gallery cheered aggressively, while the Ferdinand family sat in quiet reflection.
Terry being found not guilty has wider implications for the sport and the black community as a whole. Is it acceptable to use racially charged language, if it cannot be proved that you did it with malice? That doesn't sit right with me. Those three words in that order are not acceptable. To suggest that they are leaves us in a dangerous position in society as I expect more people to use what is already being called "the sarcasm defence" in court.
In my opinion it would be naive of us to think that we won't see people escaping charges of using "abusive language" because the context cannot be decided. Surely the words themselves are bad enough that the context should be irrelevant? The fact that many in Loftus Road on that October afternoon would have felt hurt and uncomfortable by Terry's words should be reason enough to make a stand and ensure that we don't allow this type of situation to become commonplace.
I don't see many players daring to complain if they feel they have been racially abused in future. In the back of their mind they will expect a similar outcome unless there is someone else there to support their evidence. I would say that was a matter for the Professional Footballers' Association. And what about fans in the stands, how can we expect them to behave accordingly if we cannot guarantee the same of our players on the pitch?
How do I explain to my 10-year-old cousin that racially charged language is not OK, when now perhaps it is? Of course, this is based on the fact that it wasn't said in an insulting manner.
I have no doubt that this situation will run and run, with the Football Association's investigation and QPR hosting Chelsea on 15 September. We can expect more drama and further repercussions as more questions are asked and more opinions are given. It has already been going on for nine months and I would not be surprised if I am still writing about it this time next year. But, regardless of the magistrate's decision and regardless of what others say, I will never think it acceptable to use those words in any context.
Natasha Henry is a sports journalist for the Voice Read More
انسخ الكود التالى و ضعه فى موقعك او مدونتك.