ACCUSATION: Patrice Evra
IT'S TIME for every black footballer to take sides.
John Terry, the England captain, is accused of racially cussing Anton Ferdinand, former England captain Rio Ferdinand's younger brother.
Terry denies that he made any such comment. The video on YouTube seems to contradict this. However, I am one of those people who hasn't trusted lip syncing since Milli Vanilli confessed that they weren't even singing on their records.
But quite apart from John Terry's innocence or guilt (and please remember he is innocent until proven guilty), this is a pivotal moment in the battle to kick racism out of football once and for all. And if black footballers cannot together make the stand to stamp it out now, let us not shed tears for them when they subsequently suffer racially motivated abuse on the pitch. Because let's be in no doubt that black footballers can take care of themselves, but every now and then they have to support each other.
As far as I know, it was only Nicholas Anelka out of all the Chelsea players who stood up and backed Manchester United's Patrice Evra when the latter accused a groundsman at Chelsea of racial abuse towards him.
Whatever the merits or otherwise of the initial allegation, to see Chelsea's many black footballers bury their heads in the sand at the time was an opportunity missed to speak out about the racism that footballers from Africa and elsewhere have to endure continually in the English game.
Likewise, Patrice Evra's current accusation against Liverpool's Louis Suarez. It's hard to know who to believe and whether a comment was meant as an insult or otherwise, but when you have one player (Evra) who is brave enough to call ‘racism' when he believes it has transpired, I cannot believe that all the other black footballers simply play the ostrich game.
They are not even prepared to say they can understand where Patrice Evra is coming from, in terms of being a black footballer who is making a stand because he's fed up with all the racism that surrounds football.
The John Terry racism scandal is the biggest of all, though. If it is found he did use a racial slur. No doubt the FA with all its money and media might will sweep the whole thing under the carpet.
Unless... unless every single one of those black footballers in the Premier League take a stand – the case against Terry notwithstanding – that racism from one player to another player which goes on all the time in the Premier League should result in, for example a double red card at the least and a referral to the police for incitement of racial hatred (what else can it be when a top footballer racially abuses an opposition player in front of 30,000 fans).
So Drogba, Ballotelli, Ashley Cole, Jermain Defoe and Theo Walcott, you lot better choose sides – Terry or Ferdinand – because not choosing is still choosing.
In not choosing a side, you are choosing to not take this opportunity to make football racism free. Not just for you lot but for all the kids that look up to you in schools. If you miss this opportunity, please don't come crying to us when it's too late.