John Terry has recently come under a lot of scrutiny, where he has been accused of calling Anton Ferdinand of QPR a “f****** black ****”. The FA have now confirmed that he will not be captaining the England squad to the Euros.
What’s peculiar, however, is that the entire case is based upon a youtube video, not to mention the fact that Ferdinand didn’t actually hear Terry say those words on the pitch.
Yesterday, the executive director of Football Against Racism stated the FA must “do the right thing”, with the right thing being stripping Terry of captaincy. Jason Roberts, meanwhile, went a step further and claimed that the England dressing room would be “toxic” if Terry is present, and hence, should be removed from the squad; completely disregarding the presumption of innocence principle.
He backs this up by drawing a parallel with the case that relieved Rio Ferdinand of his England duties due to a missed drug test. While I am all for justice, I think there are a few fundamental problems with this entire situation.
Firstly, I think the entire case is completely discombobulated and fully blown out of proportion, especially with a lack of proper evidence. While Jason Roberts might be correct about his presumption of Terry’s influence within the team, it is Terry’s legal right to be treated as an innocent until proven guilty by the court.
This is a fundamental right that every person demands and deserves. Furthermore, his claims stating that it is OK to depose one of this right simply based on the fact that the law was once ignored in the past, is completely wrong.
The trial itself has been controversially delayed, and the judge has since been accused by the English media of “special treatment”. Although these allegations are quite comical, to say the least, they are worrisome. With the media’s ever growing influence on society, creating hate towards one man who is yet to be convicted of any crime is very wrong and a complete misuse of power. QPR and Rio Ferdinand’s response to the whole situation is also unjust, in my opinion; especially, when nobody on the pitch was a witness to the alleged abuse.
Now that John Terry has been stripped of his captaincy, based on absolutely no factual evidence, he will be viewed as a racist by most sections of the society.
Going back to the presumption of innocence principle, if a person as high profile as John Terry is being treated as guilty even before the trial has begun, what chance does the average person stand when he/she is accused of, for example, sexual harassment?
It is my opinion that in situations such as these, the FA should be sticking behind their captain. The fact that they aren’t goes to show that they are only concerned about sending a message across; hence, rendering their decision as political rather than a practical one.