Today the national conversion on racism appeared to descend into the depths of absurdity as The Independent and The Sun reported on the trial of England footballer John Terry charged with a racially-aggravated public order offence by making racist comments about fellow footballer Anton Ferdinand on the football field. It seems that the altercation began after they each barged into each other. The Independent and The Sun report the stories differently but it seems to have gone something like this.
Ferdinand claims: “He called me a cunt. I called him a cunt back and he gave me a gesture as if to say my breath smelled.” Ferdinand then said “How can you call me a cunt, you shagged your team-mate’s missus, you’re the cunt”. At this point the prosecutor claims that Terry shouted back: “Fuck off. Fuck off. Fucking black cunt. Fucking knobhead.” but Terry claims he asked Ferdinand if he had asked him if he’d called Ferdinand “a black cunt.” Terry agreed that he had been “stitched up right and proper” as he was sarcastically repeating the words that Ferdinand mistakenly thought he had used.
The prosecutor asked: “You said that your response was to repeat back ‘a black cunt’, or ‘calling me a black cunt?’ How about ‘what?’ Straightforward, ‘what?”‘ and Terry replied: “At the time I was shocked and angry. I had never been accused of it on a football pitch and repeated it back.” and added: “Hindsight’s a wonderful thing. At the time I was shocked, I was angry, you can’t control your emotions.”. He said he would have repeated the word “nigger” back if it had been used.
However, according to The Sun lip-reader Susan Whitewood told Westminster Magistrates’ Court that Terry had said: “You fucking black cunt . . . you fucking knobhead.” though under cross-examination Ms Whitewood conceded that lip reading is not an exact science.
Of course I am interpolating here as both The Sun and the Independent would not print many of the abusive words. Perhaps Ms. Whitewood did err in her reporting as The Independent seems to have changed their earlier version of the story and removed the word “knobhead”.
Since the British elite have fucked up so badly recently, what with the Credit Crunch, MPs expenses and phone hacking, we British seem to have acquired a taste for dragging the great and the good before judges and interrogating them. The Levenson Inquiry seems to be morphing into a version of Big Brother staring bankers, politicians and journalists.
I’m all for it!
However The Levenson Inquiry can be a little dry and lofty. Alright, for broadsheet readers but most of us like to have a quick browse of the Red Tops too. The Terry / Ferdinand controversy fills this gap nicely providing a more accesible insite into the antics of the rich and famous. It seems that Terry and Ferdinand are the comedic successors to Derek & Clive.
I hear that FIFA are at last to allow goal-line technology to help the referee determine the legitimacy of goals. Perhaps they should also mic up all the players and record what they say. It might prove quite useful in enabling a few more court actions and could prove vey entertaining.