John Terry – wrongly victimised

by Ewan Day-Collins

John Terry – in many people’s eyes a national hate figure, a man surrounded in controversy to such an extent he becomes a detriment to the England side, and someone who performs with such inadequate behaviour that he should not command the national captaincy. These observers would therefore be delighted by the news that John Terry will not be leading England at the Euros, stripped because of an alleged racial slur towards Anton Ferdinand. Yet, is this really a positive move by the FA?

Yes, many of you will be screaming. Terry is alleged to have spoken racist abuse, a deplorable crime to be condemned fully. He will be tried after the tournament is due to end. Therefore, appropriate action has been taken by the FA, who has systematically diffused a volatile situation and has detracted – though not fully eradicated – potential disharmony or distraction for an England team desperate for European success.

Yet, this would be a blinkered view. Not only does this decision damage England’s chances at the Euros, which are already incredibly slim, but it also compromises a basic right in society to which we are all entitled.

The best situation for all would have been for Terry to stand trial prior to the tournament, allowing a decision to be reached and subsequent action to be taken. If he was to be found guilty of the abuse, which he fully denies, then naturally the England captaincy, and all the influence and profile it entails, should be removed from his grasp. If he was to remain innocent, then events would continue as normal, his current status retained.

Yet, unfortunately this has not occurred. No trial has taken place and no outcome concluded. It therefore leaves only one possible position, and that is one the FA has got completely wrong. As stated earlier in the hypothetical trial, if Terry had not committed any offence he would “remain innocent.” This is crucial – for a society where you must prove your innocence is not a desirable place to be based in. Surely, changing the England captaincy for no reason other than a fellow footballer claiming he heard a single racial phrase, which could be complete fallacy, is wrong?

It sets an extremely dangerous precedent if we now find ourselves dealing with an organisation where you must prove your innocence before you can be entrusted with its most prominent position. Whatever you have read about what Terry did or did not say, so far he has done absolutely nothing wrong in this case. The technicalities of law and basic human rights state that Ferdinand must prove Terry did indeed racially offend him. We must not question Ferdinand’s reliability as a witness but, in fundamental British law, he must prove Terry’s guilt – of which he has not yet done.

However, not only does this judgement compromise the essential foundations upon which our society lies, but it also exacerbates the problems for the manager, Fabio Capello, and his England side. John Terry, whatever your views on his personality are, is an inspiring leader. Two of the three descriptions of him printed on a banner permanently fixed to the Stamford Bridge railings, where his domestic side Chelsea, reside, are “Captain” and “Leader”. (The otherr is “Legend” for anyone wondering). This is not a coincidence, or a particularly biased or distorted view of a bunch of passionate, deluded fans. It is a fact.

When Terry’s last controversy ended in him being stripped of the national captaincy, Steven Gerrard superseded the reigns. However, upon close inspection the only figure on the pitch to truly inspire, energise and lead the team was Terry, despite the then seemingly nominal position being held by another player. His zealous pursuit of victory and often ridiculous determination makes him an ideal leader on the field.

So hopefully, for England’s benefit, he will not lose this facet as a result of this decision. This would perhaps be more detrimental than helpful to an England side lacking in desire and commitment so often. Terry is crucial in encouraging pride and hunger for victory in a way very few humans are able to, let alone anyone in the England dressing room. To subtract that from the equation would give little hope for a national side verging on embarrassing in the last major tournament in South Africa two years ago.

Therefore, I ask you not to judge Terry with a character assessment, but to look at the true details of this incorrect decision by the FA – of which manager Fabio Capello wrongly had not involvement in. The true details are that, not only will England be severely weakened a the Euros by not having Terry at the helm, but that, perhaps more importantly, his basic human rights are being violated, and the fundamental foundations of a just, proper and developed society are being perilously undermined.

9 Responses

  1. Mike C says:

    The FA is not the courts and therefore does not have to abide by ‘innocent until proven guilty’. The whole John Terry saga is a sorry state but the FA were damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

    1. Ewan says:

      You are right Mike that the FA does not have to abide by innocent until proven guilty but, if you take the recent Suarez affair they conducted their own investigation before acting. Here, they have acted, without a decision being reached from the courts either, presuming Terry is guilty – taking the captaincy away from him is the same action they would have taken if he was guilty – which he technically is not, as the courts have not found him guilty and the FA have not even investigated either. I agree though that it is a very sorry mess indeed, and one that should have been resolved before the Euros.

  2. David Aston says:

    Had Terry been working in any other form of working life, he would have been immediately suspended, admittedly on full pay, until such time as the allegations had been proven or to have been unfounded.

    Again football fails to cover itself in glory or the courts for that matter for not dealing with the matter quickly enough in my opinion, on top of which I believe Terry is not fit for this weekends game, and the case could have been dealt with this week, and stopped the rumour mill in its tracks.

  3. Marty says:

    The Terry trial being moved to July though is apparently the doing of Chelsea – so that the interviewing and testimonies of players does not “disrupt training” allegedly. As such it puts the FA in a very tricky position.

    Imagine England win the Euros and less than a week after lifting the trophy Terry is kind guilty. The ramifications and damage to their association would be huge. Terry has had the captaincy stripped from him before and as these allegations are so serious (and that he has not denied saying the words, merely the context which some still find offensive) it is a reasonable decision in my eyes.

    I understand he has not been proven of anything but then again neither has Suarez yet he was banned for 8 matches and a 40,000 pound fine. It wasn’t even beyond reasonable doubt, it was on probability in a “court” where more tha. 99% of those prosecuted are found guilty – ridiculous.

    And before anyone says suarez admitted to it, he admitted to saying the south American “Negro” (neg-ro not knee-gro) once, not the 5, 7 and 10 times evra accused him of. He also said it after evra instigated the argument by mentioning suarez’s family: “your sister’s cunt”.

    In all the FA really had no other decision and after the battering FIFA have taken on racism and the way the FA dealt with Suarez. And, I think it’s safe to say over the last few years we’ve all learned JT is far from a role model and in fact quite a bad human being.

  4. Giblets says:

    Surely, changing the England captaincy for no reason other than a fellow footballer claiming he heard a single racial phrase, which could be complete fallacy, is wrong?

    And the small matter of some fairly incriminating TV evidence, no?

  5. Jan says:

    I’m sorry but it is not a basic human right to be stripped of the captaincy…

    1. Sam says:

      I think the human right he is referring to is ‘due process’ and for the accused to remain ‘innocent until proven guilty’.

      At least, that is what we expect for developed democracies.

  6. Steven says:

    It’s a very interesting article, and you make some very valid points. Very nicely written and a very worthwhile read; certainly it is nice to filter out the hatred and hear some objectivity.

    However, I would suggest that the decision was made in the context of the history of this man. This isn’t the first time he was stripped of his captaincy. Perhaps if it had been, The FA would have had less reason to act as they did before the trial.

    Also, imagine if we actually won the Euros, and then a week later he was convicted of this crime? The situation would be bleak to say the least.

    I believe the real problem lies in that awful decision to hand back the captaincy to Terry in the first place. It was foolish and it has, predictably, embarrassed a lot of people.

  7. michael summers says:

    The thing about john terry is that he is a fuckin prick first he screws his mates bird then found out gettin cash in hand for tours around chelsea and hiring his corporate box at the ground and finally caught on tv shouting racial abuse at a fellow player and pleading not guilty when charged .He is just a nasty little prick who should never repersent never mind captain his country again because he is a disgrace

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