Thursday, February 02, 2012

Guilty until you're proven innocent?

"John Terry should stand aside as captain until the case is resolved, and any doubt either way removed,"
This is the opinion of Damian Collins MP, a member of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and an opinion shared by many according to various internet sources. 

Piara Powar, the executive director of European football's anti-discrimination body (FARE) said “…should John Terry remain as England capt through the Euros? I can't see how he can." Reading striker and radio pundit Jason Roberts Tweeted: "Believe me...the Dressing room at the Euros will be TOXIC unless the correct decision is made..!!!

But is this the only opinion on the matter? I have struggled to find anything to suggest people disagreeing with this view so thought I would have a go at it myself by way of a series of points.

1.       John Terry has denied these allegations vociferously ever since being charged and no-one to my knowledge can prove that he is guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
2.       Far from being proved, there has not been a trial and a presenting of evidence from either side to allow people to form an (informed) opinion.
3.       John Terry has not faced any sanctions at either club or national level from the sport’s governing body to prevent him taking the field.

If he is to be considered innocent until proven guilty, what are the grounds for stripping him of the captaincy? If he is not considered fit to captain the national team, should he be allowed to represent the team at all? On this basis Fabio Capello promised to assess the captaincy situation after the trial, which I trust he will do – if that happens to be after the European championships, so be it.

The problem of removing him from captaincy now comes if he is found not guilty of the charges. We would be punishing a man, who from outward appearances, loves playing for and captaining his country on someone else’s say so. Don't get me wrong here, if Terry is found guilty then I think there is no defense and he should lose the captaincy, but until then this just looks like a witch hunt.

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