Rio Ferdinand, the brother of Anton Ferdinand, who was reported earlier in the season to have been racially abused by John Terry, was booed by Chelsea fans during Chelsea’s league match against reigning champions Manchester United on Sunday.
The fans jeered every time Rio got the ball in an attempt to show their support of their captain Terry, and Chelsea took a 3-0 lead, but Rio said after the game that the taunts only inspired his team to mount a comeback for a 3-3 draw.
The incident involving Anton and Terry was one of the two recent major cases of racism that seem to have jeopardized the reputation of English football worldwide. The other one centered on a complaint made by Patrice Evra, again a player of United, against the Uruguayan Luis Suarez, who plays for Liverpool.
Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association in England, had recently condemned Liverpool fans for taking the same path taken by Chelsea fans for intimidating Evra during a match a week prior. Liverpool supporters worldwide were clearly incensed at the handing of an eight-match ban and a £40,000 penalty to Suarez for an incident in a league match in October when Evra made a complaint that he was racially abused by Suarez.
The disgruntled Liverpool fans targeted Evra in the fourth round FA Cup encounter with Manchester United by whistling and shouting intensely whenever he was in the thick of things. Liverpool won that FA cup clash 2-1, but it was Taylor's words that arguably made more headlines. According to Taylor, the actions of Liverpool fans set a dangerous precedent for anyone who may experience racial abuse in future. He said that players might worry about the backlash they might receive on reporting such incidents and may not bring them up.
The two cases are pretty similar. Although, while Suarez was found guilty on the basis of mere probability, Terry features in a video that is on the road to dubious popularity in which he clearly abuses Anton while referring to his color.
Now, it begs to be seen whether Mr. Taylor will see the actions of Chelsea fans toward Rio Ferdinand in the same vein as he saw the treatment of Patrice Evra by Liverpool fans.
Taylor's silence or indifference besides fuelling a sense of injustice might also provoke the already-unimpressed Liverpool community who feel that they tend to be at the receiving end for many incidents and hold a prejudice for the FA to be unfair and biased.
It will also send out a wrong message to people who follow the English League with such enthusiasm and reinstate the view of Liverpool supporters of there prevailing a bias against or probably for certain teams in English Football, rendering the already-waning popularity of the Premiership, for more reasons than one, vulnerable to further decline.