The FA Cup match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers tomorrow was always going to be contentious, but with the racism dispute between John Terry and Anton Ferdinand, the insanity has reached something of a fever pitch. The police have already moved the fixture to lunchtime in order to reduce crowd trouble, the two clubs have released a joint statement calling for calm and there's been a bizarre push to force Ferdinand to shake Terry's hand, which seems pretty silly if you ask me (Ferdinand isn't my favourite man in the world, but if he feels that he's been offended by Terry, he's well within his rights to show it).
Has the nicey-nicey sentiment worked? Has it [fun]:
We can confirm we are investigating an allegation of malicious communication received today at Queens Park Rangers football club. Officers from Hammersmith and Fulham are investigating.
-Metropolitan Police statement. Source: ESPN Soccernet.
The malicious package is widely reported as being a bullet mailed to Anton Ferdinand, presumably from a Chelsea fan. It's disgusting behaviour, and while it's a particularly awful example of the abuse the defender's getting it's by no means the only one. Chanting 'Anton Ferdinand, you know what you are' is racist abuse. Some of the postings to Ferdinand's Facebook page are horrifying (most of them are being deleted, however). Too many Chelsea fans are taking club allegiance as more important than acting like decent people.
Blaming the victim, no matter what you think of the parties involved, is an atrocious means of dealing with allegations of this kind. I was going to make a crack about how our fans shouldn't act like Liverpool's, but the more I think about that the stupider it sounds. Liverpool fans aren't racist for defending Luis Suarez and condemning Patrice Evra in that incident - it was a very vocal minority that managed to shame the club. And now it's happening to Chelsea. Wonderful. I hope the idiots are proud of themselves, because this is making us all look like racists by association.
I don't know who's wrong and who's right in the Ferdinand situation. Virtually nobody does. The folks acting like idiots because they believe something that may or may not be true are embarrassing the club and everyone connected to it. Can we as human beings not just agree that racism is bad without turning every incident into one team vs. another? Is that really so [fun]ing much to ask?