leave it to football to take a bad situation and make it worse. i wasn’t really following the john terry racism case, mostly because i can’t abide the man. turns out that while anton ferdinand found terry’s comments ‘hurtful’ he hadn’t been shy in dishing out the insults and barbs himself – though his was nothing more than banter, or so the footballing defence goes.
can’t say i would want to spend any time with either john terry or anton ferdinand.
one of the things that came out of the court case is that footballers like to swear at each. they like to do it a lot. what was surprising is this seems to have come as a shock to many people: footballers swear? say it ain’t so.
even the professional footballers association (pfa) appear shocked. pfa chairman, clarke carlisle, is calling for a clampdown on swearing and foul language. the pfa is the footballer’s trade union and it has a number of current players on its committees. from the evidence it seems as if the pfa have never watched a game while the players who advise them have never heard a naughty word uttered. the rest of us know that swearing and football go together like chalk and cheese.
the terry/ ferdinand court case has done much to bring swearing front and centre, in doing so has smeared the good name of football, or more importantly has tarnished the brand of football and the potential earning power of footballers. not many sponsors want to be associated with sweary marys.
mr. carlisle has said that players who swear should be sent off and banned he believes that will get the clubs clamping down on the problem. one wonders what the pfa would do if its members started being punished this way. given the success of the respect campaign there is little chance that any attempt to stop swearing is going to work.
the only way swearing is going to affected is if the player’s lose money over it because they have lost out on a sponsorship deal. other than that it is going to be business as normal.
of course the question is: does it matter if footballers swear? as someone with a potty mouth i am not in a position to throw stones. football’s issue isn’t with swearing per se, it appears to be more to do with the lack of respect that players have for each other – the cussing of each other is a symptom of that.
john terry may well be innocent of being a racist, but i would wager that he hasn’t been slow to call a number of players a number of things he wouldn’t want repeated in polite company. the clubs, the agents and the pfa have all watched this get worse. have they left it too late to change it?
(as if things couldn’t get worse we now have rio ferdinand stumbling into a race row – except in his case he is claiming the twin defence of ‘being misunderstood’ and ‘people not understanding sarcasm’. looks to me like rio has scored an own goal. football – it’s a funny old game.)