The John Terry Saga: Racism in Football, Rampant or Rare?

Ryan MartinContributor IIINovember 3, 2011

Collymore has strong views
Collymore has strong viewsJohn Gichigi/Getty Images

Those of you familiar with and active on Twitter may have noticed that former footballer Stan Collymore has sparked some heated reaction on his page.

Stan, in all his wisdom, retweeted a few statements on the issue of racism in football. His retweets, however, were deemed distasteful by many, and some have accused him of playing the race card.

The debate was sparked by the accusation that England captain John Terry racially abused Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to QPR.

Terry has denied the allegations.

So, how bad is racism in football?

A lot less than it was 20 years ago. The EPL has made enormous strides in tackling the issue, but there are other leagues in Europe where it is still rife.

In my opinion, FIFA should only ever address matters directly related to football—it's fair to say Sepp Blatter is no politician. Racism is not exclusive to football and is a cultural affliction.

Whilst the UK has become more accepting of new cultures, some countries in Europe have yet to progress in that direction. A prime example of this was the Shamrock Rovers v PAOK game in the Europa league. Former Tottenham player Rohan Ricketts had fans abuse him and throw bananas at him. His response was quite unusual and candid, you can read it here.

Paddy Kenny allegedly will testify
Paddy Kenny allegedly will testifyDean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

I will admit that there are those players greatly affected by racism such as Peter Odemwigge (whilst in Russia) and Emile Heskey, who suffered the disgusting monkey chanting. I would also suggest that there are certain "do-gooders" out there who too quickly jump on the bandwagon.

If we can have an awards night for black players, could we have an awards night for white players? No, of course not. Those that see racism in football as endemic are the same people creating separate events for different races. Why not just have the one? Skin colour does not affect one's footballing ability.

Racism in football is like any other crowd problem in football. There are a select few who participate and condone it.

Don't misunderstand me, however. If John Terry is indeed found guilty, then he should be made an example of to these people, starting with the loss of his captaincy for both club and country.

Racism in football will exist and be tolerated as long as societies still tolerate it. I have been to many matches in the EPL and have yet to personally hear anything more than rivalry and banter. The issue has been highlighted because the England captain has been accused, but I fear that too many people have just jumped on the bandwagon due to the increased media attention.

The problem is that the core issue is no longer addressed. Instead a bitter campaign is launched. Then we will see the FA or FIFA act rashly to appease the lobby movement and not the actual issue of racism.

I understand that my views may be out of line with what has been said so far by many journalists, but it is just my opinion. I would love to know your thoughts on the subject.