28.09.2012 Footballers’ reputations in dock after FA fines Terry for racist abuse

The  reputation of footballers is gradually diminishing blogs English and politics graduate Martin Sparey…

English football’s governing body, the FA, has found John Terry guilty of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand. The Chelsea captain has been fined £220,000 and suspended for four matches, according to Sky Sports News.

He has been charged for using abusive and insulting words towards Anton Ferdinand, which included a reference to his colour and/or race. The former England captain was cleared by Westminster Magistrates’ Court of racially abusing Ferdinand in July. However, the FA believed their charge was distinctly different from the court charge.

Terry’s reputation has been damaged by a number of scandals in his personal life, as well as on the pitch. As far back as 2002, he was charged for assaulting a club bouncer in London. He then applied for a super-injunction to block the media from reporting an alleged affair with a former team-mate’s girlfriend. He was subsequently stripped of the England captaincy, after the manager felt he had lost the trust of the squad.

Will the latest scandal surrounding the Chelsea defender become the straw that breaks the camel’s back?  It’s questionable whether he’ll be able to ‘bounce back’ this time.

It is not only John Terry who has faced disciplinary sanctions from the FA regarding race-related conduct. Rio Ferdinand was found guilty of improper conduct after replying to a Tweet branding Ashley Cole a “choc ice”. Also, QPR midfielder Joey Barton has also taken to Twitter to brand Terry’s punishment as a “farce”. He is currently serving an unprecedented 12-match suspension from the FA after being charged for violent conduct last season. His behaviour was described by the chairman of the FA regularity commission as “tarnish[ing] the image of football”.

The image of football as a profession and the perception of individual players’ reputations are becoming more and more precarious. Add to that the widespread use of social media and micro-blogging, and it’s clear that footballers should be careful about what content they post online as well as how they behave on and off pitch.

So what’s next for John Terry? Can he reform his reputation? He regained the England captaincy for a second term in March of last year, after performing well on the pitch and keeping a low profile off it. But, is this latest incident a step too far? Can even the most committed performances on the field win back British hearts and minds?

It seems it might just be Terry’s last life. But only time will tell…

So what do you think? 

Would you forgive John Terry after being found guilty of racial abuse? Is this charge valid after being found not guilty in a court of law? Is the behaviour of footballers tarnishing the reputation of the game as a whole?

Let us know your thoughts.