Why Rio Ferdinand Has Done Nothing Wrong in Twitter Storm

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2012

Why Rio Ferdinand Has Done Nothing Wrong in Twitter Storm

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    Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has been in the news recently after being charged by the English FA for a message he posted on social network Twitter.

    The offending tweet stated Chelsea player Ashley Cole was a "choc ice"—a term which, according to the BBC

    ...relates to the black and white nature of the confectionery and can imply someone is being black on the outside and white on the inside.

    Ferdinand was charged with improper conduct, but has he really done anything wrong? Here are four reasons why not.

It Wasn't Even Rio's Original Tweet

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    Rio Ferdinand did not send the original tweet which labelled Ashley Cole as a "choc ice"—he was merely responding to it.

    If there was anything bringing the game into disrepute then perhaps it would have been the original comment.

    Ferdinand's personal opinions on the merits or accuracy of the statement should not constitute bringing the game into disrepute.

Ambiguity over Meaning of the Term

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    Is the term "choc ice" racist?

    Former NBA player John Amaechi clearly believes it borders on being so, and is at the very least "highly derogatory".

    Ferdinand himself claims the term was being used to determine someone as "fake" rather than utilise any racial connotations of the word.

    He has requested a personal hearing to put forward his case.

Where Does the FA's Control End?

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    This isn't a criminal case, this is a sport's governing body believing that a player of the sport has brought the game into disrepute.

    Has Rio Ferdinand really done that?

    Is it really still the English FA's jurisdiction if a civilian is at home (or in the car, in town, wherever) and sends out a message on their own mobile device about another civilian, also not involved at the time in any match run by that governing body?

    Perhaps the FA should concentrate a little harder on matters closer to hand and let the player's club worry about what he does in his social time, instead of trying to impart their "wisdom" over every single facet of the highest-profile players' lives.

    Everybody agrees that social media needs to be treated carefully for people in the limelight.

    But this situation has got nothing to do with the English game, or the English FA.

Ashley Cole Has Himself Taken No Offence to the Tweet

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    If the game was brought into disrepute and improper terms were used, you might think that the player on the receiving end—Ashley Cole—might take some offence.

    According to his lawyers though, he has done no such thing.

    Ashley Cole has been made aware of the discussion following comments appearing on Twitter and wishes to make it clear that he and Rio Ferdinand are good friends and Ashley has no intention of making any sort of complaint.

    Ashley appreciates that tweeting is so quick it often results in off-hand and stray comments.

    It seems odd then that the FA would still think there was wrongdoing in Rio Ferdinand's actions when the only real players involved in the situation who seem to want to continue the saga are themselves.