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So Let's Talk About John Terry And Racism

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23:  Angry John Terry of Chelsea reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea at Loftus Road on October 23, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23: Angry John Terry of Chelsea reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea at Loftus Road on October 23, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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If you've been following teams outside of Chelsea, you'll know that it's been a bad week for racism in football. Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra are embroiled in a spat which say Evra accuse the Uruguayan of calling him a word that SB Nation would probably prefer I didn't repeat on one of their sites. It's since devolved into back-and-forth bickering, with calls for Suarez to be suspended if allegations can be proved as well as people asking for Evra to be banned for false racism accusations (which would be an incredibly dangerous precedent to set).

It's not just Liverpool and Manchester United, either. On Saturday, when Sevilla managed to hold Barcelona to a goalless draw at the Camp Nou, Frederick Kanoute was sent off for striking former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas as Lionel Messi prepared to take a penalty in stoppage time. Rumour's been circulating that Kanoute lost his cool because Fabregas called him a terrorist - and for a Muslim of North African descent, one can imagine why the Sevilla striker might have been a little vexed if the claims are true (Fabregas has denied them, of course).

And now, I guess, it's Chelsea's turn to be embroiled in a bit of a scandal, with Queens Park Rangers 'looking into' TV footage that purports to show John Terry racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand due to the Blues' loss at Loftus Road on Sunday. Obviously, if true, it would be incredibly disappointing, as I would hope that Chelsea's captain would lead a highly multicultural club with more dignity and respect, but Terry probably can't be stupid enough to say something like that in a game even if he has racist beliefs (obviously, I'm not privy to Terry's thoughts, but I really really doubt he's a racist).

Terry's defence focuses on a bizarre point - that cameras picked up him telling Ferdinand that he in fact had not called him a 'b**** c***'. I'm not accusing him of being duplicitous here, because Ferdinand isn't making contrary accusations, but that conversation must have been really strange, like a particularly terrible piece of Dan Brown dialogue, or a particularly racist guide to learning how to speak English.

JT: Anton, you are a fine human being.

AF: Did you just call me a 'b**** c***'?!

JT: No I did not just call you a...

TV cameras zoom in

JT: 'B***** C***!!!'

TV cameras find other target

JT: ...I called you a fine human being. I am not a racist and find such language unacceptable.

Again, I don't think that Terry racially abused Ferdinand - he had Ashley Cole, who is black, standing next to him at the time, as many Blues fans have pointed out. But even taking Terry's explanation at face value, it's a bizarre course of action to take. When you're on television, being watched all the time, you absolutely cannot respond to accusations of using a racist slur by repeating that slur. It'll only lead to trouble in the end.

QPR haven't decided to press a complaint yet (and hopefully won't, if Ferdinand has no complaints), but the fact that this is happening at all isn't exactly good PR as far as Chelsea and Terry are concerned, and it's difficult to understand how the situation came about in the first place. John Terry is almost certainly not a racist, but he's the team's captain and should know better than to let this happen at all.