Terry faces criminal racism charge

Terry (Getty Images)

A day after Liverpool's Luis Suarez was given an eight-game ban for saying racist remarks toward Patrice Evra, John Terry finds himself in hot water for a similar offense.

The Chelsea captain faces criminal charges after the Crown Prosecution Service found sufficient evidence to go ahead and take Terry to court on a charge of a racially aggrivated public order offense.

The incident stems from an October encounter between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers, when Terry allegedly used a racial slur toward QPR's Anton Ferdinand. Video evidence was compelling enough for police to enter an investigation of the incident, which concluded with Wednesday's charge.

Terry, who will appear in court on Feb. 1, has aggressively denied racially abusing Ferdinand and released a statement following CPS' decision, saying, "I am disappointed with the decision to charge me and hope to be given the chance to clear my name as quickly as possible. I have never aimed a racist remark at anyone and count people from all races and creeds among my closest friends. I will fight tooth and nail to prove my innocence. I have campaigned against racism and believe there is no place for it in society."

What do you make of this development? Do you think a criminal charge is deserved in this situation as opposed to the suspension and fine that Suarez received?

Share your thoughts below.

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65 Responses to Terry faces criminal racism charge

  1. MicahK says:

    This is crazy maybe all players in the EPL should play with duck tapes on their mouths so no one can trash talk.

  2. Steve C says:

    Crazy to think you could be criminally charged for just saying something no matter how right or wrong it is.

  3. Propagandhi says:

    John Terry hates everything: other ethnicities, fidelity, 9/11 victims, and taking penalty kicks.

    And if Dad-of-the-Year Terry isn’t enough reason to despise Chel$ea, I give you this: link to youtube.com

  4. al17 says:


    Can you expand on what you’re saying?

  5. KJ says:

    Americans tend to take that freedom of speech thing pretty seriously. Even when the speech is offensive, hateful or wrong, the person still has the freedom to say it. And other have the freedom to drown that person out.

  6. abc says:

    Okay, but what about the FA? How many games will their beloved (lol) captain be suspended if Suarez got 8 games? For those who know how to read lips off youtube videos the case against Terry is clear enough….

  7. abc says:

    Really, so they can’t refrain from hurling racist insults unless their mouths are taped shut?

  8. Johnathan says:

    Absurd that people somehow think that hurling racial slurs is ok

  9. abc says:

    Tim Howard has Tourette’s and he doesn’t seem to have a problem, what’s Terry’s excuse besides that he’s a c*nt?

  10. RedStateJim says:


  11. Steve C says:

    I don’t really think an expansion is warranted. I made it pretty obvious. If you are at work and say to another co-worker “Hey fatty.” You aren’t getting arrested for that. You’ll get fired. To me, this issue is work-related and it shocks me that police would get involved. That’s my point. I don’t agree with people throwing racial epithets around, but I don’t think they should be charged for it.

  12. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Man, I hate John Terry. He is a despicable person and an over rated player. He SHOULD be held up for public scorn for his remarks and if the FA has rules that allow his suspension for this, he should be suspended.

    HOWEVER…criminal charges for insulting a fully grown man to his face? Ridiculous. Stupid. And dangerous.

  13. Judging Amy says:

    well said.

  14. AS says:

    Hahaha +1. Good stuff

  15. Brian S says:

    Who thinks what he says is okay?

    Defending the concept of free speech is completely different from defending anything Terry said. Free speech is an American thing but it should be a universal right to humankind

    Think about it. If government can outlaw one kind of speech (like racial taunts), they can outlaw any kind of speech. They then have the power to criminalize words. That’s scary and dangerous. It’s also the foundation of how governments can become oppressive over time

    Fortunately, the America’s founding fathers prevented the government from being able to control speech. Obviously that means some people can say some extreme and awful things but if free speech is to mean anything at all, it means protecting speech from way outside the mainstream of decent society.

    This of course doesn’t mean the FA can’t suspend Terry. They should in fact suspend him if their own internal investigation shows he actually said what he is accused of.

    But for government to get involved is another matter. It’s a dangerous path. It should remind us of just how lucky we are to have the freedoms we enjoy in the United States.

  16. Felix says:

    Terry is a dispicible human being – he gets whatever is thrown his way in my opinion.

  17. A.S. says:

    CRIMINAL charges??? As in JAIL? For something he said?

    That isn’t absurd. It’s complete fascism. Every once in a while you see something like this and it reminds you how great this country is, even compared to supposedly civilized countries like England, which in fact turn out to be ridiculously unfree. How could anybody want to live in a country where they throw in JAIL for saying something, even if what you say is despicable? Complete fascism.

    He should be banned by the FA for 8 games, a year, whatever. But the government should NOT be involved.

  18. Joe_H says:

    How can you equate calling someone fatty with racial slurs denigrating a person, coworker, opponent, etc….this is ridiculous. If you went and called a co-worker a derogatory term for their sexual preference, religion, ethnicity you CAN face criminal charges its called a hate crime or harassment, obviously you’ve never been in any situation akin to that and I hope you never will but saying that you shouldn’t be charged for throwing around hate and bigotry is ludicrous

  19. Poo says:

    And tim actually took a lot of abuse because of it when he first went to England.

  20. Steve C says:

    A hate crime is defined as: bias-motivated violence (assault, injury or murder). John Terry didn’t do any of those… he’s a Class A d***, sure. So, yes… I am saying you should not be criminally charged for saying things, such as this.

  21. Steve C says:

    Perfectly stated.

  22. Rick says:

    Two more reasons never to go to Engerland!

    1. Endemic racism in soccer.

    2. No freedom of speech.

  23. Daggius says:

    Terrys a piece of shiet but freedom of speech is a lot more important than all this race bs

    What kind of country u get legally punished for saying a word

    Fcking waste of time bunch of crying over nothing I’m with sepp blatter on this one just shake hands and walk it off morons

  24. Jake says:

    As a Chelsea & Terry fan, I will be the first to say thank you to your reasoning. If it happened, sure, give him a 8+ game ban, like Suarez… but it’s absolutely ridiculous that this could result in a criminal charge.

  25. Jason says:

    I think racism in soccer or anything is despicable, but criminal charges? That’s a bit harsh.

  26. 10 says:

    the thing with Suarez and Terry, is their evidence of them saying what they’re accused? Prove it to me beyond a reasonable doubt. COME ON.

  27. 10 says:

    soooooooooo Dempsey scores today. $5 says that

  28. Lampardintheendzone says:

    Oh Gawd. Freedom of speech in the USA is not absolute. Slander (and libel, by extension) can be criminal offenses, depending on the state in which the offense occurred.

    Threatening the life of the president of the United States is a Class D felony under Title 18, Section 871 of the United States Code.

    Incitement to riot is illegal (Title 18, Section 2102), not to mention obscenity laws, etc, etc.

  29. tim says:

    I don’t think this is a criminal thing where police need to be involved.

    I’ll be sourly disappointed if Terry doesn’t receive at least the same 8 games Suarez got.

  30. Eurosnob says:

    Perhaps, in England it is a crime to use a racial slur, but in the US there’s a little thing called First Amendment to the Constitution that give the right to the freedom of speech. The First Amendment (with few limited exceptions not applicable here) protects even repugnant forms of speech – such as racial slurs. The hate crime statutes in this country do not criminalize hateful speech per se, you have to commit a real crime and have a specific motivation (e.g., killing someone because that person was of a particular race is a hate crime; killing someone to steal his money is a crime, but not a hate crime; hating a particular race and using a racial slur is but not a crime, but is a hateful speech).

  31. Dennis says:

    I don’t think he faces jail time, just a fine of a few thousand; at his income level that is hardly something that matters.

    Terry pleads his innocence, but doesn’t everyone?

    His past behavior does nothing to help his claim of innocence.

    I think if he is guilty he should be banned for a long time, and since FIFA is making racism a big deal, that would mean through the Euro championships. Laws are different in various countries; if he broke the law in England, he should suffer the consequences. (Even though in the US he would not be facing criminal charges since as far as I can tell he was not encouraging violence or doing the equivalent of yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater.)

  32. Lampardintheendzone says:

    And there is no racism, sexism, or homophobia in American sports?

    Freedom of speech is not absolute in the United States. You cannot defame a person or threaten the president without legal action.

  33. al17 says:

    Hmmm…mmmm I’m a bit ignorant of British Laws but I do know that if you say similar in other countries, you are subject to arrest.

  34. Lampardintheendzone says:

    The US Government does outlaw speech. See Chaplinsky v New Hampshire. Fighting words, obscenities, defamation, and incitement to riot are all limitations to our freedom of speech.

  35. Kevin_Amold says:

    Agreed completely. Criminalizing speech isn’t a beautiful thing, with a few obvious exceptions of course.

  36. Kevin_Amold says:

    I think most everyone understands this.

  37. Joe_H says:

    Seeing the explicit definition I see what you meant regarding the criminal charges being filed for it, but I was more so talking about your point with the comments at the workplace..but being a black male who played ice hockey my whole life, I can only recount one instance of ever having any issue regarding race so in a sport like soccer where there is much more diversity, seeing these issues repeatedly brought up is really disheartening to me as a fan and I’m beyond sick of it

  38. CSD says:

    I guess his offense is covered by the Public Order Act 1986:

    link to en.wikipedia.org

  39. CSD says:

    Captain England’s situation will be handled under English Law so what you think is a bit irrelevant to the legal proceedings. I am just saying. But you have a right to say it. Also I ain’t no lawyer but if Ives allows it you can call JT whatever you wish in this land.

  40. Joe_H says:

    Yeah, I’m not familiar with British Law either, but I highly doubt he’ll be facing jail time, I think the criminal charges here are more so a fine or something along those lines (not jail time) and I have absolutely no problem with that at all

  41. SD says:

    I guess we could cry outrage but really should we have sympathy for him. Wasn’t he the same guy laughing at american tourists in heathrow about 9/11. Correct me if I’m wrong. It’s hard to have empathy/sympathy for someone who could do that…

  42. ben in el cajon says:

    We (Americans) do need to be careful when we look at other nations’ censorship laws. For example, in Germany they cannot put a hackenkreutz on a model airplane because the Nazi symbol is universally banned, but then the whole nation doesn’t have a heart attack just because Janet Jackson’s right nipple makes a 50-millisecond appearance on national TV. What fine did CBS pay for that, again? Still, both Germany and the U.S.A. have strong free speech rights. That said, I do find it a little creepy when a verbal assault goes to criminal court; and I find it very saddening that racial slurs are ever used in sports.

  43. Joe_H says:

    hopefully the GWG too so united go down

  44. ben in el cajon says:

    . . . are ever used. (When wouldn’t it be sad?)

  45. Chris says:

    Painting swastikas is a hate-crime that involves no violence. Double check that definition.

  46. Ed says:

    Who thinks that?

  47. T says:

    No, everyone does not.

  48. gfox says:

    I saw you in the last thread defending racist remarks in a round about way, good to see you are up to it again!

  49. bryan says:

    i believe the saying goes, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    most will attribute that to Voltaire, however, what he said was, “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.” the famous quote above was actually written by someone else in a book. it was a paraphrase, of sorts.

  50. Kevin_Amold says:

    I also thought most everyone would also understand that the word “most” is not absolute.

  51. George Jung says:

    He’s also the son of a coke dealer.

  52. T says:

    I also thought that you were not one of the type to complain about vocabulary, but I was wrong. Still, everyone does not understand no matter what you may think, please continue to live in your world of ignorant superiority. I put forth a simple phrase because I wanted “you” to get that everyone does not understand the laws present in our nation.

  53. Kevin_amold says:

    Whatever you say T.

  54. jpc says:

    no shock here. Terry’s always been a dirtbag. the only shock is how he remained on the England team, and is still Chelseas captain. Who looks up to this guy?

  55. UCanStudyBuzzed says:

    From Wikipedia: Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States, outside of obscenity, defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words.[48][49][50]

    so even in the US, there are definitely ways you can break the law by using racial slurs without actually physically perpetrating a violent act.

  56. UCanStudyBuzzed says:

    No, even in the US, there are definitely ways you can break the law by using racial slurs without actually physically perpetrating a violent act.

    From Wikipedia: Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States, outside of obscenity, defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words.[48][49][50]

  57. UCanStudyBuzzed says:

    No, even in the US, there are definitely ways you can break the law by using racial slurs without actually physically perpetrating a violent act.

    From Wikipedia: Laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional in the United States, outside of obscenity, defamation, incitement to riot, and fighting words.[48][49][50]

  58. mouf says:

    change the laws in the UK then…

  59. mikefromamerica says:

    Time for the ‘THOUGHT POLICE’. I’m sure shutting up racist comments will erase racism!!!! All political correctness is doing is driving racism underground, where it’s MUCH more lethal.

  60. mikefromamerica says:

    I’ll ‘expand’ it for him: You can denigrate me all you want. I’ll just laugh, BECAUSE I REFUSE to give you, or anyone else for that matter, POWER over me! A person can only be offended IF they give POWER to the offender. And I REFUSE to give away THAT power! Is that ‘EXPANDED’ enough?

  61. mikefromamerica says:

    Sorry KJ. Here in America, only the ‘RIGHT’ is racist, because as we all know, the LEFT CANNOT be racist, DESPITE their OBVIOUS racism and bigotry!

  62. mikefromamerica says:

    I’m NOT saying it’s OK! What I’m saying is, when you try to control their speech, you do nothing but drive it underground, where it finds a home and festers and then erupts into physical violence. SUNSHINE is the BEST disinfectant!

  63. marc says:

    Why do they always send the poor?

  64. J says:

    +1. He can be criminally charged because he is a global celebrity idolized on all continents. If he thinks he doesn’t get judged to a higher standard he must be an idiot.