The long-winded saga that finally found John Terry guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand has not only blacked the name of the former England captain, it has embarrassed the Football Association and Roy Hodgson.
Everyone in football knew Terry would be punished by the FA – despite being cleared by the criminal courts – because he had already admitted using racist language during his July court case. That is the real reason Terry announced he was quitting international football on the eve of the FA hearing, because once the governing body confirmed the case was going ahead a guilty verdict was inevitable.
The FA should hold their head in shame for allowing this to drag on for almost a year. The disturbing thought is was this a decision taken for commercial reasons because they wanted Terry at Euro 2012 or was it simply bad judgement.
You also have to question the judgement of England boss Hodgson who last month said he wanted the Chelsea man to be “freed” – presumably because he was hoping Terry would carry on playing for the national team. Hodgson’s decision to leave Anton’s brother Rio out of the Euros was blatantly made because he wanted Terry in his squad. Now he is left without his first choice one wonders if Hodgson will reconsider bringing back the experienced Ferdinand. Now that would be twist to this ridiculous soap opera.
In the meantime, it is up to Terry to decide if he wants to drag things out a little further by appealing against the four match ban and £220,000 fine imposed by the FA. The temptation to do so will be fueled by financial considerations well beyond the size of the fine, because his blackened name hugely damages his marketability.
At the four-day Wembley hearing, Terry vehemently denied abusing Anton Ferdinand, sticking by his courtroom defence that when he used the words “f****** black c***” he was challenging what he believed the QPR defender had accused the Chelsea man of calling him.
In my opinion, this is Terry’s last chance to do the right thing and accept both his punishment and the damage to his reputation. For once it looks like there is no escape and karma has had the final say. Had he held up his hands at the very beginning and apologised for using racist langauage, I doubt anyone would have accused him of being a racist.