Ferdinand might wish he’d kept quiet
What must Ferdinand be thinking now?
John Terry was found not guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, Musa Okwonga argues that Ferdinand has paid a heavy price that for doing what he thought was right.
Who would like to be Anton Ferdinand right now? He has just emerged from a trial where John Terry, the Chelsea and England defender, has been found not guilty of racially abusing him.
Whilst Terry has taken yet another barrage of public abuse, there is a strong argument that Ferdinand has paid the greater price during the affair.
Ferdinand found himself at the heart of a trial whose key moment he did not even witness until he saw it on YouTube after the game.
The date of that trial had been deferred till the summer, due to the successful arguments of Chelsea’s legal team: which meant that Ferdinand, like Terry, had to endure months of speculation about his integrity.
Ferdinand was no angel: his baiting of Terry over his extra-marital affairs paints him in a poor light
He saw his brother, Rio, left out of England’s 2012 squad in a decision that many considered to be a direct result of the impending court proceedings. He received threats and a bullet in the post.
And for what? The magistrate’s court was not a place for Judge Riddle to deliver catharsis for Ferdinand or many members of the public, but to deliver a verdict on the facts as he saw them.
The hard reality for the prosecution is that it was unable to produce evidence compelling enough to prove its case.
Ferdinand was no angel: his baiting of Terry over his extra-marital affairs paints him in a poor light. But, in the words of the judge, he was brave to testify, doing so on a point of principle. Perhaps, his principles, and Judge Riddle’s praise, will be of sufficient comfort to him.
As suggested by Ashley Cole, that this case would be better if it had not gone to court at all
Perhaps. Time will tell, too, whether other players thinking of making allegations of this nature will feel emboldened or chastened by Ferdinand’s ordeal.
As it stands, he returns to a sport where his brother probably has no future with the national team, and to a small social circle which is, in all likelihood, irreparably damaged by this affair.
Of course, he did the right thing and deserves only credit for his courage in taking a stand.
But the uncomfortable thought may occur to him, as suggested by Ashley Cole, that this case would be better if it had not gone to court at all: that, in the infamous words of Sepp Blatter, he and John Terry should just have shaken hands.
Musa Okwonga is a poet, musician, football writer and social commentator, you can follow him on Twitter @Okwonga
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