Tuesday 21 November 2017

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Lads' verbal brawls aren't just on pitch

Male mickey-taking is here to stay -- education is the only cure for the racist element, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

THE game of football bores me senseless, but the soap opera aspects of the industry are a different matter. Dodgy foreign owners, thick overpaid young geniuses, Wags, celebrity babies: all human life is there.

Last week in court, we had drama and amusement over John Terry, loutish captain of Chelsea and, until recently, England, accused of having last October used "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress", with the offence being "racially aggravated in accordance with section 28 of the Crime and Disorder act 1998" etc, etc, etc.

We will probably never know if Judge Howard Riddle was surprised to hear how players commonly address one another on the pitch, but his conscientious summary certainly livened up his 15-page judgement: "The defendant does not deny that he used the words, 'f**k off, f**k off', 'f**king black c**t' or 'f**king k***head'. His case is that his words were not uttered by way of abuse or insult."

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