• Tottenham Hotspur Message Board

  • Jlock Jlock Oct 23, 2012 08:10 Flag

    Is it me...?

    I must be getting old.
    Why is football treated differently?

    We now have a 'fan' being jailed for his 'attack' (I thought it was more like a half push/slap) on Kirkland.
    We have little old ladies scared to leave their homes or who get mugged. We have genuine cases of ...ism where a person is overlooked for a job or promotion because of their skin colour, sex, sexual orientation...blah blah. Those cases are lucky to get to court, and when they do, the offender gets off with community service or a small fine.

    In football, it seems the offender, if high profile, can dictate when the court case will be heard. Abuse becomes racism. A slap/push becomes an attack and if the offender, if 'joe public' gets an inflated sentence. I don't recall any player/manager being prosecuted for pushing, kicking, punching, gouging the eyes...etc of an opponent.
    Odd eh? Terry becomes racist and it's ok to prosecute (but takes a year to get to court). Players have openly slapped and punched each other and nothing is done. A fan shoves a player and within a couple of days, he's caught, tried and in prison

    Is the law now about celebrity and nothing to do with the severity of the crime? Just because football is high profile, should the law be 'bent' to suit? I semi understand making an example, but doesn't this sort of thing send the wrong message?

    SortNewest  |  Oldest  |  Most Replied Expand all replies
    • Meaty!

      Our legal system has always been open to manipulation, the more money you have the more malleable it becomes. Footballers are currently the ones with the funds available to exploit the loopholes and laws.

      Even with the video clearly showing Terry using racially abusive language there is an element of doubt, because of context (bullshyte IMO, but they're the laws). I imagine the delay in this case was due to legal teams gathering evidence.

      'the wrong message' becomes subjective, there are people who feel Terry is a victim in all this. Some people would believe the Mugger, was a victim of a society! (bull, but I've heard people defend burglars with this) the fan who slapped kirkland is difficult to defend because of the weight of evidence against him.

      Laws and the way they are used have never been fair or consistent and IMO they are never likely to be- there are so many variables to consider, all of which have the potential to completely change what may seem an obvious decision.

      What are your thoughts on Rio's proposed Black player Federation?


      • 1 Reply to Joe
      • I'll start with your question. I think setting up a 'black' player federation is in itself actually racist. I'm not being funny there. But if that was done for 'white' players, there would be all sorts of uproar.
        Surely, the whole point about defeating racism is to have ALL races, creeds and colours together. NOT introducing some form of apartheid. Seems like the brainchild of a single celled amoeba (and that is being amoebaist) to me.

        I wasn't trying to get back to Terry per se, it was just with the Kirkland thing it seemed that football, the players and managers, were all treated as special cases. Because racism was 'high profile', Terry gets charged for a comment on a football pitch (that IMHO was insulting rather than racist - as if you take each word in its context Terry never actually thought that Ferdinand was having sex as a black sexual organ - so why focus on black as being something that was actually meant to be taken literally rather than as an insult). BUT, we then see a football fan sent to prison for assaulting a player, when players who assault players/managers/officials on the pitch (and I don't mean dodgy tackles here) or at the pitch side (Gattuso/Jordan comes to mind, Pardew and the linesman (! just for H), Mourinho gouging etc) do not get charged.
        Then as I say, some poor old dear gets mugged, the crime is also on camera. The offender gets caught, goes to court, courts the judge by wearing a natty suit, and gets off with a ASBO. Is slapping Kirkland a worse crime than mugging or frightening someone who may be truly scarred by the incident? Ditto for true ...ist crimes - where peoples lives are really affected by an '...ism'. Was Ferdinand truly upset by the Terry abuse - I'm not so sure - and what abuse does he (Ferdinand) come out with each week to other players?

        It just seems that anything around the periphery of football gets blown out of proportion.

        I know the justice system is biased (if you want true 'bias' in a really scary way look at the Old Bailey case archives from the 17th/18th centuries on line), but the latest 'let's look as though we're doing something' for the media bit just seems a bit cynical to me.

    • Still there Joe.

      I totally agree that JT was being offensive and used black to be offensive. So, in that context was 'racist' - but the act wasn't racist - it was insulting. If Anton had been gay, I would guess that JT would have used another term apart from black. The aim WAS to be offensive. He hoped that Ferdinand would take offense at ALL the words he used. That was his aim.

      I tend to to see true '...ism' as where you purposely and continually do something to put down/hurt that 'thing' object. IE if I hated women and I purposely didn't employ them, or spat at them each time I saw them or stopped them using my taxi or stopped them coming in my restaurant or....- then that to me is racist. To call a single woman '...you b****y woman...', when I have nothing against women in general, is just being offensive in general.
      There is a difference to me. (That all got bogged down in JT again - rather than football being treated differently)

      As for justifiable / not justifiable acts of '....ism':
      Paying different because of gender for the same job. NOT OK.
      Charging different for insurance, where a gender/age group is shown to have a better record. OK (if it's not ok to differentiate by gender, then why is ok to differentiate by age or even post code?) - as it is based on a proven risk assessment.

      I know the law is biased. It always has been, from the outset when the powerful murdered and stole the land to became 'lords' or kings, and then presided over drafting of laws to condemn those who stole or murdered. But the levelling of law is what it all should be about. Not continuing to make special cases - which is what I appear to see happening more and more with celebrity and football in particular. To me its a bit like this black player federation - condoning that would be such a step back - as what you want is integration and fairness across the board. Ditto for the law. The law should be applied the same to all, not justifying different use of law in 'special cases'. With knowledge and 'wisdom'.

      If we met, and you slapped me like the fan did Kirkland, do you really think that a jail sentence would be warranted? (I think SB and Sfer would probably think it was warranted ;-)). I bet, if the event was caught on camera, I would have a hard time even getting the police to come out and recognise that anything happened at all, let alone bother trying to take it to court.

      Anyway, what do you think about the game today - no Bale, no Ade....sounds like the subject of another thread to me?

    • I must admit I've not read all of the messages in this thread (they're quite detailed and I'm watching the match more than the board... BOOOOOM! 1-1!), so these points have probably already been covered, but my tuppence worth:

      - attacks etc aren't treated more severely in football, they're just more high profile. Terry wasn't found guilty (like many many people daily), and the Kirkland fan was arguably treated more harshly as the evidence against him was so clear due to cameras and he was a customer in Kirkland's place of work, I'd expect my employers to push for the hardest punishment if the same happened to me.

      - I don't begrudge them for being more high profile cases, as I believe they set a precedent and are almost a summary of was is and isn't/should and shouldn't be acceptable in our society. I think it's probably the most public microcosm (I know, hark at me using words like that on a football board!) of life in the UK with minimal international crossover we have, and as such the ethics (I guess that's the best word) of it are valuable to the nation as a whole.

      - crimes are rightly judged on a case by case basis, footballers might be deemed to be judged more harshly for e.g. fines as it's a % of income.

      - there's no excuse for these behaviours on or off the pitch. If the FA do their job properly - as with any organising body - all cases in football will be followed up. HOWEVER, it's virtually always the individual's decision in non-major abuse cases - racial, physical, or anything else. In football the players often (are made to?) feel they have an obligation to see it through, whereas in day to day life people (are made to?) feel they're 'making a fuss' if they do. Hopefully football can show they can follow these cases through.

      - SB, this is one of the rare times I agree emphatically with your point! I believe homophobia is a much bigger problem in football, because no player has been bold enough to stand up to it in the same manner as racism.

    • NBR,
      Maybe, because football is high profile, it highlights discrepancies in the system. I'm not so sure.

      From what I can gather, the Kirkland Slap warranted a 4 month jail sentence, whereas the systematic 'torture' by these thugs...


      ...to me is a million times worse (imagine the fear that the people felt when these so called carers were on duty). Suspended sentences? 20 months?

      As I said to Joe, I bet I would find it hard to get the police to take me seriously if I showed them a video of me being pushed/slapped a la Kirkland footage - let alone the offender caught, tried and sentenced within a few days. I don't think, that the Kirkland offence, outside of the 'football' environment, would ever have received a jail sentence.

      Wouldn't you think that a 'high profile' case, such as being aired on Panorama, would also then warrant a sentence that acted as a deterrent?

      To me, the penalty for crimes committed by footballers should be no different to those outside of football (ie to bankers, shop workers,deep sea divers) when it comes to criminal law. Different when fines are imposed by the club/employer itself (ie not a criminal case) - that is then simple employment contract/'law'.

      The JT case was brought (from what I gather) because an anonymous caller contacted the police (I think after lip reading what JT said). Again, if I phoned the police and reported a racist act, and had video footage (no sound track, and no witness report of what was said) - do you think the police would take me seriously?

    • JL,

      I agree, and your analogy makes perfect sense. I think Terry is guilty of using racially offensive language, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's a racist, IMO if he were he would not be where he is today.

      Again, I agree regarding the Black Federation, IMO it would be regression and fuel the fire of the bigots and tiny minded people.

      'The law should be applied the same to all, not justifying different use of law in 'special cases'. With knowledge and 'wisdom'.'

      In theory I agree, however there are incidents where common sense has to prevail over law/rules as there are extenuating circumstances IE: Getting caught speeding, whilst taking someone to hospital, who is in urgent need of medical attention. The law says, no you deserve 3 points, with all the facts and proof the points are likely to be rescind.

      Maybe the laws/rules need to be written to accommodate such circumstances? But in my experience even police officers are happy with many of the laws/rules we have as they allow for interpretation and common sense decisions.

      IMO many of our laws need revision, but that is entirely a different debate.

      Probably your right with regards to Kirkland, If the same thing occurred during a Sunday league game, I doubt the fan would be punished to the same extent. This could be due to the difference in perceived loss/risk, as in the FA/Championship have more to lose/risk if they are not seen to be taking stern action, in order to prevent a re-occurrence.

      I definitely agree Re: SB and Sfer, I would expect to be roundly applauded if I slapped you, if it was recorded I'd be selling DVD's or £5 a pop and I imagine you'd be ridiculed for diving better than Tom Daley.

      Definitely time for a Maribor thread! I think we will find them a real test, gutted for Ade!


    • JL,

      Bare with me! I must apologise for getting slightly 'into' this subject.

      I agree, 'I really think you have to be careful with .....isms. What is and what isn't an '...ist' act - what is and isn't a justifiable '...ist' act.'

      In this instance , IMO Terry is guilty of using racially offensive language, I don't think he is a racist, but that does not stop his choice of language being racially offensive. He chose those words to offend. So does Terry think being called black is offensive? if not, why say it? He targeted Anton's race as a way to offend him, therefore implying that there is something wrong with being black, whether he believes that or not, that's the implication. Changing the word black for ginger, bald, gay doesn't change the meaning of the sentence, it just makes it offensive to a different 'minority' group.

      Anything relating to race is going to be more emotive (than say gingerness), not least due to the recent history of slavery and vilification.

      IOf course laws are applied differently depending how rich you are, I don't like it, but the more money you have the more loopholes there are, sad but true and unlikely to change. Terry silenced the newspapers, by paying for a court injunction, he stopped the 'free' press, who else could afford to do that? Money changes the rules or at least allows you to bend them.

      Laws/rules are entwined with commercial operation IMO, look at most people employment contracts, its full of laws/rules, many of which are designed to protect the company and its commercial interests.

      Lance Armstrong broke many the laws/rules of cycling by blood doping, those laws are in place for many reasons, some which will be to protect the commercial integrity of sport and governing body and also to try and ensure the race was as 'fair' as possible. As we have seen business do not want to be associated with cheats or rule breakers, that's why Lance Armstrong has been dropped by Nike, Oakley and virtually everyone else and why people like Kate Moss were dropped, when pictures of her doing coke were published.

      IMO we as humans are obsessed with the concepts and ideals of fairness and integrity, which is why we find blatant cheating so unacceptable. Depending on where each of us place our values will depend how offensive or acceptable we find different infringements on these laws/rules. I think Armstrong is a shyte, but many people may look at his charity work and forgive his other actions.

      The fan who slapped Kirkland knew the rules before he ran onto that pitch. The punishment had to protect the values of the FA, and try and prevent a re-occurrence. Although I do think we all need to look at the way criminal records work. IE a kid caught in possession of drugs can be tarred for his entire life, IMO thats not fair (I digress).

      Prescott was egged, I believe? He punched a bloke, who threw an egg at his face. Even though Prescott knows he broke the rules by throwing the punch, it could be argued he was acting on instinct, to protect himself. The pitch invader was not protecting himself, he was acting out side of the laws/rules of football and society in general.

      EPIC- still awake?


    • yay notblonde! its only taken us a few years too agree on something lol. different views is what make life more interesting!