WE knew it was coming. Like day must follow night. Watches were synchronised, heads were shaken and sighs were sighed in resigned anticipation. The first swell of what will so inevitably prove a tsunami of hypocrisy arrived at the start of the new month and was just as predictably proffered forth from the pen of the mighty Martin Samuel.
Big Marty writes for the Daily Mail. Big Marty fights the good fight for truth and will take his literary sword to the serpent of injustice whenever and wherever the hydra raises its head above the parapet of fairness.
Big Marty likes to dive in to meaty subjects. The recent footballing controversy-feasts presented by the racism debates surrounding Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Chelsea’s John Terry have had Marty fair salivating. Unrestrained he has launched his ampleness into the broth and true to style and form has belly flopped and duly slapped brown residue in all directions.
Big Marty writes for the Daily Mail. The Daily Mail trades in the currencies of pettiness, paranoia, prejudice and self righteousness. The Daily Mail’s owners and staff know that it is a racist organ, and that it caters for those basest instincts, and they carry on regardless. Marty may feel that he is just obeying orders. That in the ivory tower of the sports section he is impervious to the guilt by association implied by his employment.
No dice Marty. You take the Nazi dollar and are therefore inherently part of its war machine. If there is ever a Nuremburg for hacks who work for organs of the bigoted right you will not escape judgement. Too harsh ? Well the Daily Mail may not yet be Der Stürmerbut in some ways it’s worse. At least Hitler’s favourite tabloid wrote its agenda large. The Mail hides behind skirts of sentimentalism and nostalgia, but its message is ultimately no less stark than Der Stürmer’s– There’s us, and then there’s them.
Not a great platform then for Marty to re-invent himself as paragon of liberal virtue, but Samuel is nothing if not a man fettered by the rigours of needing to maintain consistency. He jumps horses like a rodeo legend, and this month we find him volte face-ing from the stance he took in the Luis Suarez case a month ago to a perfectly diametrically opposing view this month, in gallantly coming to the aid of Chelsea, England, God, and Saint George hero, John ‘lock up your wives’ Terry.
Terry, unlike Liverpool’s Suarez, faces full legal due process. He stands accused by the public prosecutor of an alleged vitriolic racist verbal assault on QPR’s Anton Ferdinand. That Suarez’s case did not cause her Majesty’s law enforcers to raise the faintest of eyebrows meant that he was left at the mercy of the golf-club committee level justice meted out by the venerable yet timelessly venereal Football Association.
Suarez, if anyone needs reminding, was accused of a series of racist slurs by fellow professional Patrice Evra during the fraughtness of a Liverpool/Manchester United encounter back last October. Evra’s word alone (for there were absolutely no witnesses to any of his claims) was sufficient for the FA to level a charge of using racist language against the Manchester man.
A charge. Fair enough. Well. Only so, until faced with the eye widening, jaw dropping statistic that 99.5% of those ‘charged’ by the Football Association are eventually convicted of said ‘charge’. That, is some strike rate. That’s a success rate that would have impressed Nazi ‘People’s Court’ judge and jury personification, Roland Freisler back in the 1930’s/40’s, Daily Mail fans.
Even he set free the odd jewish/gypsy/homosexual/dissident lamb to the German state’s slaughter. Statistically speaking it is no exaggeration to categorically state that ‘to be charged by the FA is to be convicted by the FA’.
How this is so is because the FA’s justice system sees it assume the mantle of police force, CPS, and ‘independent’ judge and jury. For the avoidance of doubt let it be made clear once more, for those at the back, that the 3 man judicial panel (as served during the Suarez case) is effectively foisted upon the FA’s hapless defendants. Yes, the panel is ‘approved’ by defending counsel but there is hardly a US style jury selection process undertaken. Suarez and his people had to pick between one set of FA employees or another set of FA stooges. An Hobsonian choice at best.
Big Martin of the Mail felt these kind of reflections mere distractions as he alighted that structurally underpinned soapbox of his at the beginning of the year :
Any impartial reading of the exhaustive detail (in the FA’s 115 page report on the Suarez/Evra case) therein would note its thoroughness. Picking at its weaknesses is an easy game when there is so much information to inspect.
Had the FA released a one- paragraph judgment and punishment, the lawyers — the qualified and those self-deluding amateurs — would have had nothing with which to work.
The more detailed the findings, the more chance there is of unearthing an arguable point. It is not an edifying spectacle, though, this use of technicalities to cloud such a serious issue.
God forbid, Martin, that we knuckle dragging amateurs stop to ponder such distractions as evidence when considering whether or not justice has been served at the back end of an inherently unjust process. A 99.5% successful conviction rate suggests a prosecution factory not a justice system.
That Samuel and his cohorts have not read the fudge that is the FA’s Warren Commission-esque snow job is all too obvious. That he didn’t come close to understanding the linguistic evidence as provided by the FA’s own experts is apparent in the following attempt to draw comparison between the Latin American benign use of the word ‘negro’ and the arcane Alf Garnetism, ‘darkie’ :
And still the war rages over whether negro, as uttered in Rioplatense Spanish, is a racist word. So break it down.
In 1960s Britain before mass immigration had created our cultural melting pot, a factory floor might have a single black worker, newly arrived from the Caribbean. And his mates might give him a nickname, and mean no harm by it.
‘Morning, Darkie’, they might say. And Darkie would say good morning back. He thought little of it. Nor did Sooty, or Sambo, or the white folk who had not yet evolved to understand that to define a man solely by the colour of his skin is demeaning.
…and so Samuel’s Mail mask finally flops to the floor, to reveal his inner Rio-Thamesean little Englander. Martin is telling us, between his lines, that the way those dumbass greaseballs in Suarez’s homeland speak is actually like we used to before we got all educated and civilised. When Suarez’s wife, for instance, calls him ‘negro’ she means it in the ‘bless ’em, they were racists but didn’t even know it’, way that most of us in Blighty did 50 year ago. And no mistake, missus.
It is hard to avoid the distinct impression that Martin Samuel’s understanding of the complexities that surround questions of race and prejudice began and ended whilst watching Warren Mitchell’s vintage depiction of a loveable East End racist in the 1970’s sitcom ‘Till death us do Part’. He just about got that, and has settled on its timeless but simplistic message ever since.
This diatribe, I am quite sure, will be written off as yet another rant by a myopic Liverpool red that self pityingly won’t let sleeping dogs lie. Liverpool and Suarez were prepared to let it lie last October, and were prepared to be magnanimous in their approach to the FA’s hearing in December. After initial fury at the verdict and punishment foisted on their man, Liverpool were prepared to let go at the beginning of this year, in deciding not to appeal the 8 match ban and fine imposed on Suarez.
This one though, won’t go away folks. Not whilst every 1 in 40,000 dick in a Liverpool scarf with a racist attitude is put under every media microscope going, and not whilst a press corps that all but unanimously saw justice as served in the Suarez case, moves towards wanting to default to ‘doing right’ by John ‘England Captain and national treasure’ Terry, in the prelude to his forthcoming day in court.
Martin Samuel, happy back then, in January, that the FA’s self serving Kangaroo court, was sufficient for all to suspend the quest for fuller fairness in the Suarez-Evra case, is now banging his big bass drum to let justice be done though the heavens fall, for his charge, Terry, railing at what he perceives to be a rush to hang his man :
John Terry. Why doesn’t he just sod off? It would be so much more convenient that way.
So much easier for everybody if he would just accept that the verdict of the kangaroo courts is in, without the tiresome necessity of due legal process in a proper one.
Judged unfit to captain England in the grand court of Twitter, messageboards and radio vox pops, why doesn’t Terry just slink away and accept that nobody has the patience for a fair trial these days?
…… What a nuisance he is, with his talk of innocence and his stubborn refusal to stand down…
…..adds Big Marty sarcastically, whilst studiously forgetting his own earlier invoking of Luis Suarez and LFC to take it like men and stop bleating about wanting justice.
Martin’s beef now is that some are calling for John Terry to stand down as England Captain until his name is cleared of the accusation that he called opponent ‘a black cunt’ on an English football field last year.
The problem is Martin, (notwithstanding that you did not afford Johnny foreigner Luis Suarez the same magnanimity just one month ago) that you can’t see that there is a more obviously apparent case for Terry to answer here. Suarez was damned, rightly or wrongly, by the word of one man with a motive. Footballers, especially the modern variety, like to get each other into trouble. It’s what they do in the course of their jobs these days. It gains them a competitive advantage. It helps them win. They are prepared to tell lies, and to feign hurt, on every level, in order to undermine a foe. Neither Samuel, the media in general thought this contemplatable.
John Terry, however, was not called to account by a fellow professional. He was called to account by the police who caught him with the metaphorical bloody dagger in his hand. Now it could transpire that he may not have actually dunnit, so to speak, but it doesn’t look good for ol’ Johnny Terry. That the cameras caught him calling Anton Fedinand ‘ a black cunt’ looks as red-handed as it gets, and his apparent defence (that the cameras missed off the sentence’s pre-fix ‘but I didn’t call you a black …’) seems fairly risible to most casual observers.
Obviously, however, on this one, Marty is clearly correct, in that sentence should not be passed on John Terry until the legal process has been fulfilled. The Samuel stopped clock has found its inevitable mark. However, there’s an argument to say, that so apparently stark is the video evidence against Terry that he shouldn’t be granted the effective career bail of being allowed to hold the England football team’s highest office.
Having defended Suarez, though, let’s give the roguishly cuddly Terry his due as well. That he deserves to be heard and to benefit too from the burden of proof against him being of the ‘unreasonable doubt’ variety, all those that backed the Liverpool man, would agree upon. What will rankle though, and move to seethe, is the two faced, hypocritical, prejudiced myopia of English press men, of which Martin Samuel’s stance is so distastefully typical.
In pouring scorn and shame on Suarez and the Liverpool red brotherhood with relentless swathes of pious pens, the media stood full square behind the ‘kick racism out’ campaign, with justice seen as a potentially regrettable casualty of a nobler quest. Now, though, anti-racist flags are hidden in the bushes in the rush to side with national captain Terry. Swords and scales of British justice in either hand, Martin Samuel topically notes that some truths rise above all others when …… this is a man’s reputation and career at stake. It is not Strictly Come Racism.
No shit, Martin.