John Terry’s 4 game ban

The Mambo’s a busy man, constantly in demand. A man about town. A raconteur. I’d love to spend all day writing 500 word screeds condemning all the people I despise but sadly I can’t. I have to prioritise. And I really like eating. Thinking about and eating food takes a surprisingly large proportion of my day.

That’s why I hadn’t written anything yet about John Terry’s 4 game ban and £220,000 fine after he was found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand. An interesting punishment, all things considered.

Firstly, I’m glad the FA didn’t let the issue drop. They were right re-open their investigation as soon as the criminal proceedings had finished, for a number of reasons: the courts arrived at the wrong decision; it should have been the FA and not the authorities acting against the Mambo’s least favourite footballer in any case; John Terry is a despicable human being and everyone should ensure that as many bad things happen to him as possible; it was right that the governing body sends out a message about its views on racism and racist abuse; and last but not least it was essential to disregard the fact that Terry was a member of the national team and judge the case on its merits and not his child-like decision to retire from the international game.

Secondly though, I’m not sure the punishment really sends out the right message. (Although that said, much as I would like Terry to have been forced by way of recompense to be forced to do a bungee jump tied to a moth-eaten elastic band, in and of itself a 4 game ban is probably appropriate. I don’t like lengthy bans for players except in the very most serious of circumstances and much as Terry’s behaviour was contemptible, they were just words and he is merely the symptom of a wider problem afflicting our society.) But, and this is a but the size of John Terry’s ego, as Stan Collymore pointed out as soon as the verdict was announced, Luis Suarez was banned for 8 games for racially abusing Patrice Evra last season (with somewhat less certainty around his intent and guilt) and Joey Barton got 12 games for a bit of slap and tickle where no one actually got hurt.

So, when a foreigner is guilty of racial abuse they get double the punishment, and when a player with a public profile and opinions of his own gets involved in a total non-event he gets triple the punishment.

There needs to be a bit of consistency as a bare minimum, surely? It’s a tiny bit frustrating when the FA for once make the right call they still manage to balls things up and make it look like certain players can act with rather more impunity than others.

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