Chelsea

Is John Terry A Racist? In A Word, No.

The racism trial involving Chelsea skipper John Terry and Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand has entered day three with no verdict expected until at least Friday.

Terry is charged with a racially aggravated public order offence which carries a maximum fine of £2,500.

On day one of the trial Terry claimed his comments were made in sarcasm and he was only repeating comments Ferdinand had made earlier.

The altercation that occured during the QPR Chelsea clash last October is said to have begun after Ferdinand made remarks over Terry’s alleged fling with Vanessa Perroncel who had been seeing former Blues star Wayne Bridge.

Ferdinand is alleged to have said:

“you shagged your team-mate’s missus”

A remark in which Terry is alleged to have replied:

“Naff off, Naff off ‚ Naffing black cad, Naffing knobhead”.

It is around this comment the whole case hangs, as it needs to be determined whether Terry meant the comment as racial abuse or was in his words repeating it after Ferdinand.

The 31-year-old centre back is said to have called Ferdinand into the away dressing room after the clash at Loftus Road in West London said: “It’s handbags innit, it’s what happens on the pitch.”

The comments were made in the dying moments of a 1-0 victory over Chelsea watched by two million TV viewers and 20,000 fans at the ground. Ferdinand admitted he never heard them and only became aware about what had been said when his girlfriend showed him a YouTube clip of the incident two hours later.

But he told from the witness box, as Terry looked on, how he would have been “livid” had he heard what Terry said.

He added: “I would have been obviously very hurt and I ­probably wouldn’t have reacted at the time because, being a professional, you can’t do that. When someone brings your colour into it, it takes it to another level and it’s very hurtful.” Ferdinand said Terry had asked him to come to the Chelsea dressing room an hour after the final whistle. Accompanied by Blues team-mate Ashley Cole, he asked: “What happened out there geez?”

Terry then said he had been told by Cole that Ferdinand was claiming he had racially abused him.

Ferdinand explained: “I said, ‘No that never came out of my mouth.’ Ashley Cole then put his head around the door and said, ‘Yes. Didn’t you say that to me?’ And I said, ‘No I didn’t say that..”

He said he was puzzled about the claims and shook hands with his rival. Terry’s George Carter-Stephenson QC accused Ferdinand of going into the dressing room because he felt guilty about alleging Terry racially abused him.

The player denied this and told ­Westminster magistrates court if he thought he had been racially abused it would have resulted in a fight.

Mr Carter-Stephenson said Cole asked Ferdinand during the discussion: “Did you think JT called you a black cad? You know he isn’t like that.”

The barrister also accused Ferdinand of only going to police when persuaded by his agent Justin Rigby. But the player rejected the claim. He said: “No, I made up my own mind, I wanted to do it.”

However, he told the court he was initially reluctant to talk to the police because it was a sporting matter. Ferdinand added: “This is a footballing issue that happened on the ­football pitch where we work.”

Day two was when Terry took to the stand to give his defence.

Former England captain John Terry said he was not prepared to be called a racist, his trial heard today.

The 31-year-old told the Football Association a week after being accused of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand that racism was not in his character.

Terry is accused of calling Ferdinand a “Naffing black cad” during a Chelsea match against QPR on October 23 last year.

A recording of the interview was played today at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

He said: “I have been called a lot of things in my football career and off the pitch, but being called a racist I am not prepared to take.

“That’s why I came out and made my statement immediately.

“I am not having Anton thinking that about me or anyone else.

“That’s not my character at all.”

The centre-half told the FA investigator Jennifer Kennedy that he was repeating back to Ferdinand what he believed he had said to him.

Terry said he thought Ferdinand was accusing him of calling him a black cad.

Terry said: “I was taken aback by that. I have never been accused of that.”

Terry went on to say in the interview that he was angry at thinking Ferdinand was accusing him.

He added that, with all the cameras and thousands of fans present, a player would not shout racist abuse across the pitch at someone.

He said of the accusation: “I was hurt by it, taken aback and really surprised.”

He added: “It’s something I took and didn’t like it at all.

“I have never been accused of that before, inside or outside football.

“I took it to heart. If I had something to hide I wouldn’t be projecting it in front of the Sky cameras and the people in the ground.

“I could have easily had my hand over my mouth or whispered in his ear.”

The morning’s session ended with Mr Carter-Stephenson applying to the district judge, Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle, to dismiss the case.

The barrister said Ferdinand was an unreliable witness and the lip reading experts agreed it was impossible to clarify what was said at the key moment from the footage.

He said the case was “so weak and tenuous it does not warrant it going any further”.

In reply, prosecutor Duncan Penny said after the lunch break that in the first account that Mr Terry gave, he said Ferdinand had said something about “calling me a black cad”.

He said: “I think I was saying ‘you black cad, you’re a Naffing knobhead’.”

Mr Penny told the Chief Magistrate it was “unlikely” that someone’s first reaction to an accusation of racist abuse would be to repeat the same words.

“Mr Terry’s defence is ‘my immediate reaction was to use exactly the same words, not surprise, nothing of that nature, just to repeat the words back. You could form the view that is very unlikely,” he said.

Mr Riddle found that there was a case to answer, and said it would be “inappropriate” to give reasons at this stage.

Today saw Terry’s teammate Ashley Cole called as a witness for the defence.

Cole, also 31, told Westminster Magistrates Court: “I think we shouldn’t be sitting here.”

He said that while racism should never be tolerated, repeating what you thought someone said was ‘completely different’.

Cole said: “If I repeated something that I thought you said, that’s totally different than if someone just says something.”

Cole described Terry as “a close friend”, with whom he had played at Chelsea and for England for six or seven years.

But he said there was a “conflict” because he is also friends with Ferdinand and his brother Rio.

He was asked by George Carter-Stephenson QC, for Terry: “Did you want to get involved in the situation?”

“No.”

Mr Carter-Stephenson said: “When you made the statement what was in your mind?”

Cole replied: “The FA summoned me to do it.”

Mr Carter-Stephenson continued: “Did you feel there was any conflict?”

Cole said: “Yeah. JT is my team-mate and friend; Anton and Rio and his family, I’ve known for a long time.”

He said Terry would laugh off taunts on the football pitch.

“He would probably laugh about it, it’s part and parcel of the game and you get used to it.”

When asked to describe Terry as a football captain, he said: “He’s one of the best, very inspirational.”

Cole said on the day of the match at Loftus Road, he saw Ferdinand make a fist gesture to imply sex and could see him saying something about “Bridgey” or “black”.

“I can’t make out – him either saying Bridgey (Cole made the fist gesture) or black.”

He said he thought QPR centre-half Ferdinand’s taunts were “not necessary” and did not shake his hand after the game.

He did not hear Terry say anything in reply to the goading, the court heard.

Later in the game, Terry told Cole he thought Ferdinand had accused him of using a racist obscenity.

After the match, Cole was present when Terry asked Ferdinand what had happened

“I think John said ‘Did you think I called you a black cad, did you think I was being racist?’ Then I said ‘Did you think John was being racist? Anton said ‘No, no’.”

The two players then shook hands and went their separate ways.

This is an unfortunate incident which occured during a heated derby match and I’m sure things were said in the heat of the moment. None of the comments made were right but both parties have made mistakes in this issue.

The evidence seems flimsy and based around video footage of which there is no audio which makes it unreliable. The maximum fine for this offence is £2,500 which John Terry makes every few hours and it is costing the country much more to carry out this court case and I can’t help but feel the outcome will be very similar to the Harry Redknapp tax evasion case.

I can’t help but feel that unless Anton Ferdinand was 100% sure what Terry had said or if he had heard it himself at the time then he shouldn’t have taken this issue to court or accuse someone of being a racist.

This issue has gone much further than it perhaps should have given the circumstances and evidence. I do not feel anyone is right in this issue as there is clearly wrong on both sides.

Do I believe John Terry is a racist? No, I simply do not.

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