Date: 15th November 2006 at 4:22pm
Written by:

In the last few days, nasty allegations were going around that suggested that John Terry is racist. We are happy to state that this is not the case.

The allegations appeared in that bastion of fact, the Daily Express. It was picked up by The Voice, a newspaper for Britain`s Afro-Carribean community. Under the headline ‘Here we go again`, and the sub-headline ‘The football story that nobody wants to talk about`, the paper said that ‘a high-profile England international has been accused of making a deeply-disparaging racist remark toward a fellow player.` Carefully hiding behind ‘legal reasons` for not naming the players involved it stated that ‘the football fraternity is both aware and shocked over the alleged incident, which is said to have taken place during a Premiership match in London recently.`

Picking up on the story, the Daily Telegraph embellished it by adding that ‘… all the players involved are believed to be keen to see the matter kept under wraps`. Clearly concerned at the facts, The Telegraph added England Manager Steve McClaren is facing an off-the-field crisis. And, as the Express says, ‘such is the seriousness of the accusation that it threatens to eclipse all the other issues McClaren has had to endure in such a short space of time as England boss`.

An incident which took place during a Premiership match in London? That wouldn`t be the incident whereby Graham Poll gave John Terry a second yellow card in the match against Spurs, and sent off Chelsea`s and England`s captain?

The rumour that the incident was accompanied by a ‘racist incident` started a few days after the game. Spurs fansites asked why it was that the Spurs players reacted so strongly. According to their analysis, it was strange that John Terry was surrounded by so many black players. And that JT walked off without protest, as if he knew that he`d done wrong. Apparently, the behaviour of Chelsea`s black players was further proof.

Spurs sites clearly believed as fact the idea that JT had made a racist comment to Ledley King. Rio Ferdinand was called as a witness: the forgetful defender has claimed in the past that the England team contains a ‘known racist`. Spurs fans had little incentive to consider this as further proof. One site added that John Terry had racially insulted Samuel Eto`o in 2004. Unbelievable. The particular allegation that Eto`o was racially abused was thoroughly investigated by Chelsea and was subsequently proven to be completely false. Besides, and Eto`o accused a Chelsea steward, not the Chelsea captain. Nevertheless, this was added to JT`s rapsheet.

It is sad that a scurrilous rumour made the newspapers and has been presented as fact. Whilst no names are presented, everybody understood that the incident in question was the one in the Spurs game, and that the player who was slurred as a racist was John Terry.

And on what evidence? That presented is worse than circumstantial: just because the explanation that JT made a racist remark fits vaguely with what people observed is not proof that that was what actually happened. The fact that there were a number of black players who reacted during the incident is just a reflection of the ethnic mix of both Spurs and Chelsea. In addition, we really have to ask if there would be such a cover-up. If John Terry was a ‘known racist`, would he have been made England captain?

Would he have been made Chelsea captain, for that matter? Chelsea is a team that has even more of an ethnic mix than most other Premiership sides. Doubtless supporters of other teams will provide us with evidence to the contrary; that is not important: Chelsea are a multi-ethnic team, and John Terry is their captain. That is the same John Terry who rose through the ranks of amateur football through non-League side Senrab, a club that is well-known for being a team where most of the players are non-white. And he was made captain under the reign of Ken Bates. Whatever you can say about Ken Bates, one thin in his favour is that he worked tirelessly for Chelsea to shed its image of a club that was indulgent on racism. John Terry a racist? All the firm evidence points to the contrary.

And would there be such a cover-up? Would Spurs participate in a cover-up rather than defend their own captain from what would, if it was true, a very serious insult? Why on earth would Spurs do that.

Nevertheless, a certain volume of slur was being hurled at JT, creating a rather unpleasant aura, not to mention doubt.

With that in mind, we are happy that Spurs have cleared up something. The following is from Donna Cullen, Spurs Director of Communications, whenasked by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust, about the Terry incident:

‘Dear xxxx, I am happy to, unequivocally, tell you that there was absolutely nothing said on the pitch of a racist nature. We certainly would not cover up any racist incident. It was a nasty, unsupported rumour which started doing the rounds in the press, who themselves now admit it was wrong information. Having spoken to at least two of the players involved I am quite clear that this is total nonsense and I should be grateful if you could pass this on to whoever is still minded to believe there is any truth in it.

Best regards, Donna’

We hope that that puts an end to such unpleasant rumours: if there was an incident at a ‘Premiership match in London`, it wasn`t involving John Terry. That is, if the rumour is nothing more than an unsubstantiated smear.