I’ll keep this brief. Luis Suarez of LFC was banned for 8 games for repeatedly calling Patrice Evra a negro during a game. He admitted saying it but pleaded innocent essentially calling for cultural relativism. His argument is that in Uruguay and South America in general, calling someone black or a negro is not offensive but simply a term of description. Evra’s argument was its offensive and racist to refer to a person’s colour solely with the intent of categorizing and disparaging him. Otherwise known as racism.
It’s a subtle argument by Suarez but fails to dismiss the racist element. After all, the history of race relations in South America involves forced export and slavery in the fields. White South Americans, the racist kind, are well-known for still calling Brazilians ‘monkeys.’ That’s essentially what Suarez was doing. Referring to someone in a lower sense simply based on their race or colour. His argument was it was in jest or simple baiting a footballer during the game. Blatter would have called for a handshake but we wouldn’t accept that for in any other circumstance.
Terry has been charged with calling Anton Ferdinand ‘a black motherfucker.’ The difference here and Terry’s saving grace ironically is the word motherfucker. It’s similar to calling someone a fat bastard or black cunt (excuse my language). The personal insult is in fact the second term. The descriptive word is an embellisher. The insult for Terry is the word motherfucker, a word I know from Arabic is considered an ultimate insult even if its over-use means its lost much of its vehemence in Western culture. Terry is likely to be found guilty but given a fine or suspended sentence or be found innocent on a lack of convincing evidence.
That’s not to argue there aren’t significant similarities between the men. Terry is in no way a better man. His record as a philanderer, racist, self-righteous thug and general arsehole (see; pissing on the floor of a strip bar because he can) is on a par with Suarez, the man banned for seven games at Ajax for biting another player or red carded for cheating during the World Cup and diving constantly throughout games here in the EPL, bizarrely known as gamesmanship.
Zimbardo the psychiatrist would talk of the structure within which these players grow up and live to explain their behaviour. That’s undoubtedly true and so while it might be too late to mend their childhoods, the structure, rules and norms of football and modern society need to enforce ideas beyond pure freedom of speech, and value collective responsibility alongside rights to be a c#nt