We’re often reminded that football is ‘the beautiful game’ but such a phrase neatly overlooks the darker side of the sport.
With incredible riches available to the most popular players and the best teams, the pressure on them to deliver has never been greater. So perhaps it’s no surprise when the red mist occasionally descends.
That said, there’s no defence for those players who overstep the mark when making racist comments to opponents.
By all means, they should be competitive and ‘put themselves about’, but when it comes to making insults that concern a player’s heritage, that really does leave a sour taste.
Let’s take a look at five players who were found guilty of racism.
#1 John Terry
Back in 2012, John Terry was fined £220,000 and banned for four matches after racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, then of Queens Park Rangers. Though Terry came out immediately to deny making any offensive remarks, it caused tension within the England camp as Anton’s older brother, Rio, was a teammate of Terry’s.
Frank Lampard and Andre Villas-Boas, then manager of the Blues, sprang to the defence of the club captain, but with TV cameras picking up Terry calling Ferdinand a “f**king black c**t,” there was no wriggling out of the situation.
The Metropolitan Police also investigated the incident at the time, throwing further cold water on Terry’s assertions that things were taken ‘out of context.’ Chelsea continued to back their man and, at the time of writing, Terry still remains part of the first-team squad.