Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The footballist and the law

Warning - this post contains asterisks

I gather from the news that a footballist by the name of John Terry is in court because of saying something to another footballist called Anton Ferdinand. For me the court case highlights a perversity in the law that I've mentioned before, but this brings it out stronger than ever.

According to what I remember from last night's news (so wording may not be exact), Ferdinand taunted  Terry about his extra-marital affair and used an obscene gesture. In response, Terry said to Ferdinand 'F*** off! F*** off! You black c***!' and it is this phrase that has landed him in court.

As someone with once red hair, who got the usual taunting when younger, I think it is totally unfair that this is treated totally differently to what would have happened had Terry responded to a red-haired player by saying 'F*** off! F*** off! You ginger c***!' In those circumstances I presume there would have been no case.

Surely the law itself is racist here. It is illegal to abuse someone based on their colouring if they are one race, but it is not illegal to abuse someone based on their colouring if they are another race. This is blatant discrimination.

In practice it is a travesty that a week's court time is being taken up with this. Okay, the footballists will be paying their legal bills, I guess, but there is still the cost to the taxpayer of the whole business and a court locked up for a week delaying other cases. I'm not saying the incident should have been ignored. The FA should have fined both of them for verbal abuse and bringing the game into disrepute - and rather than the piddling fine liable to come from court I'd suggest at least a month's wages, which should be paid to charity rather than going to the FA. But the court case is just wrong.

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