John Terry doesn’t need a racism allegation to be unpopular. He’s probably the most hated footballer in the UK anyway. This racism allegation and its progress will surely have a huge impact on John Terry’s career. Most would agree (albeit grudgingly) that he’s one of the best centre backs in the world. You’d never be able to doubt his commitment, dedication and effort when he’s playing either for Chelsea or for England.
By nature, he’s a confident and brave fella. He’s a leader and he walks and talks like one. Some people hate him just for that as they think he’s too arrogant and lacks humility. I’ve not seen any one instance which tells me he’s an arrogant guy. He’s not. He’s just supremely confident and as a leader that’s exactly how he should be.
The public opinion on John Terry comes not only from perceived personality but also primarily from his private affairs. In addition to that, he’s made it easy for people to hate him by being one of the highest paid footballer and also being extremely successful with premier league titles, domestic titles and champions league too. As always, it’s quite hard to have people look at such issues objectively. Bias and subjectivity creep in willingly or unwillingly.
John Terry is typical of a player who the fans of the club love to bits while the rest of the world love to hate. When John Terry got involved in this allegation, most people had made their decision already. Because it’s John Terry he’s guilty until proven innocent.
The other day I got myself into one of those twitter chats with a fairly renowned person who sounded like he had already decided that Terry is guilty. When asked, I said I support Terry in this issue until a verdict is made, he just couldn’t believe it. He unfollowed me in a fit of rage.
Such is the backdrop for this case. Terry is already considered guilty by many even before the hearing. If the verdict says Terry is indeed guilty, all hell will break loose. He will be branded as a racist while what it should mean in effect is using racist remarks in a heated moment in an away derby game. But the topic of John Terry normally only evokes strong, stupid & sentimental outbursts instead of objective analysis and conclusion.
Making a racist remark is very different from being a racist. What the courts will pass a verdict is not on whether JT is a racist. It will be on whether a racist remark as alleged was made. The court will see if there are enough evidences to prove the allegation and allow JT to defend himself. Very clearly, it’s all about what JT said to Anton in those few seconds. But the whole episode is being turned into a ‘JT is a racist’ propaganda by the rival fans and by the media. Trust me, every single media outlet will be hoping that JT is judged guilty. That will be a field day for them. That makes for numerous debates on suited pundits that can sit around and talk like they care for racism and utter racist expletives when the microphone is off.
See I don’t in anyway condone usage of racist remarks no matter what the heat of the moment. I know heat of the moment is not a excuse, even though it can be an explanation. Only that I want the ‘making racist remarks’ be distinguished very clealry from ‘being a racist’. You once-in-a-lifetime act doesn’t need to reflect your personality or define your personality. One act of provoked violence doesn’t make on a violent man. Again, I don’t condone the act of making racist remarks but only ask that to be differentiated from a ‘being a racist’.
I ran this interesting debate on Twitter on what should the club do if Terry were to be found guilty. We know what the court does. They’d charge Terry with a maximum of £2500. FA will wait to see what action Chelsea FC would take. Chelsea could (a) dismiss him (b) suspend him (c) fine him (d) remove captaincy or (e) do nothing. It’s very important how Chelsea FC would respond to this situation as that would have a huge bearing on the general image and the global brand of the club.
As we went through the debate, I was surprised to see that there was no consensus at all. The people that participated were mostly Chelsea fans and hence I had expected a near consensus on how Chelsea FC should deal with Terry, if found guilty. They all said all sorts of things. Some were defending him, some didn’t. And interestingly, everyone’s point of view was valid.
Now here, I’m going to make an argument for each of those possibilities because they all are in some ways reasonable in their own merit. Keep in mind, this article operates in the possibility that John Terry could be found guilty and how the club should react to such a verdict. Here we go!
If a guilty verdict is out, all focus will be on Chelsea FC. The world will be watching to see how the club deals with their captain who’s found guilty of a racism allegation. Chelsea FC can make a huge statement to the world by dismissing Terry. He’s been a great servant but let’s not forget that he also comes at a high price these days. There are centre back options. There are options for captaincy too. In every organisation, there would be internal codes of conduct that lay down the rules and the consequences of not following the same. Gross misconduct is a ground for dismissal in any job. And bringing disrepute to the club is a good enough reason for a captain to be dismissed.
Dismissal is too big a punishment. After all he’s the captain of a club which has had numerous black players and he’s been playing with them for a decade now. One burst of a remark during a heated away derby (if found guilty) doesn’t make him guilty. At the same time, as an institution, Chelsea FC can’t be dealing with it too lightly. As a club that’s becoming a worldwide phenomenon and particularly in Africa, they need to take considerable action from their part. Suspension would fit in well. A 2-month suspension with wages docked would be just about right. He’d have learnt his lesson (again if found quilty).
The possible fine by the courts if found guilty is upto £2,500. And that’s like spare change for someone like John Terry. So the club can fine him quite heavily to the extent that it makes a difference to him (within the permissible limit by the club rules). No point in dismissing or suspending him because Chelsea FC is not the court. They are just the employers. They can fine him for all the hassles that the club had to go through for his momentary madness (if found guilty).
Chelsea FC can decide that its team not be led by a man who’s been convicted in a racism allegation. He can continue to be the player but the club may not want to use him as a flagship as he wouldn’t be representing the values of the club on the pitch (if found guilty). Terry’s captaincy can be taken away and he can continue to play as a centre back for Chelsea FC.
The club can say that John Terry went on a trial and the court made a verdict and also punished him accordingly. There’s no need for Chelsea FC to introduce or add any further punishments. The decision making authority would have decided and the club can continue as usual. He’s our captain and a club legend. If he says he’s not guilty, he’s not guilty.
Remember, John Terry can appeal if the verdict is guilty. And if the verdict is not guilty, that stays as that cannot be appealed further. Let’s not forget that we’re still talking about an unfavourable possibility while it’s more possible and likely that John Terry is adjudged not guilty.
No matter what happens, remember John Terry is a very strong man. He’s a very tough man. He’s gone through several such turbulences in his career but he’s only come out stronger and tougher. You just can’t rock him. He’s like a phoenix. He comes back and delivers on the pitch.
My personal opinion on this issue is here: I’d accept any decision taken by Chelsea FC on how they deal with John Terry if an unfavourable verdict were to come out. I’ll stand by the club’s decision even though I firmly believe that John Terry wouldn’t have made racist remarks despite what the verdict says. What do you say?