This article has little to do with Liverpool, although with what happened to Luis Suarez last season, I thought some people who read these posts might find it interesting.
So the FA have fined Rio Ferdinand £45,000 for calling Ashley Cole a ‘choc ice’ via Twitter. That’ll teach him a lesson. He’s a multi millionaire – losing around a third of his weekly wage – it hardly puts him on the bread line.
I’m not suggesting for one moment that Rio Ferdinand, a black man, is a racist. Just like I don’t believe that Luis Suarez, the grandson of a black man, is racist. But surely the point in question has to be whether Ferdinand was guilty of using a racist term. And the answer is clearly yes.
The term ‘choc ice’ is extremely racist. It implies that a black person is black only in skin colour but inside they are really white. And it’s meaning is especially dangerous because it allows black people to believe that there is a way of being black that is somehow distinct from being white.
And that’s the problem right there.
If a white footballer had tweeted the same comment it would have been judged in an entirely different manner. Racism will only be taken seriously, when everyone is judged by the same rules.
We see in films, music videos and the like, where black people use the ‘N’ word. Why should it be any more acceptable for a black person to call another black person that word than it is for a white person? Surely it still means the same thing. People, regardless of their skin colour, either have freedom of speech or they don’t. There can’t be one rule for one person and another for someone else.
I can’t help but think the FA are responsible for allowing this whole situation to escalate. They waited, expecting John Terry to be found guilty in a court of law and his fate to be out of their hands. A guilty verdict would have led to him not only losing the England captaincy but also never representing his country again. They would then have found it easy to dish out a similar punishment to the one that was given to Suarez. However, they got their eyes wiped. Not only did Terry’s trial take longer than expected to be heard, which forced England manager Roy Hodgson to choose between him and Ferdinand for the Euro 2012 squad, he also was found not guilty. They have now charged him and I suspect he will also be found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute rather than racially abusing a fellow player. His punishment? Probably a meaningless fine.
Do most people believe John Terry used the term in the manner he claims? I don’t think so. Are most people right? Only he knows. But the FA should have taken decisive action. And they should have done the same now with Rio Ferdinand. Unfortunately they’ve allowed a nasty can of worms to be opened because it looks like black footballers can use certain terms that white players cannot. But the issue goes beyond footballers. This will inevitably trickle outside of the game and onto the playground, with kids copying their heroes. And that is F****** Atrocious.