Anti-discrimination campaigner John Amaechi has called upon the English Football Association to take “swift and decisive action” against John Terry who was tried for racism charges.
But Terry was cleared in court of racially abusing Queen Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand even though the FA can sanction him because of a different burden of proof. “The danger is black people in football will start to look more cynically on the FA and their true stance rather than their rhetoric on racism,” the ex-NBA basketball player said.
“That’s one of the reasons why the FA has no choice but to take swift and decisive action.”
Amaechi is one of Britain’s most successful basketball players after spending several years in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Orlando Magic and the Utah Jazz. Now retired, he is a psychologist, charity worker and an ambassador for Amnesty on discrimination issues.
Away from the Terry case, Amaechi said he felt sports as a whole seemed to be “regressing instead of advancing” on such issues. He believes sports could actually bring about change, rather than simply putting down any problems to the wider society.
Amaechi, who was awarded an OBE for services to sport, said the Terry case could be an opportunity for officials at Wembley to set down a marker about racial discrimination in football. “It is a point when the FA could try and make their whole organisation different or better, but I have doubts as to whether they are capable of that. The whole thing is quite damning given that you have a man who was the captain of a national team, a man who has been steeped in their supposed anti-racism education for almost his entire career in football and yet can still fall foul of these allegations and can still have a character questionable enough that one of his peers would believe him capable of it.”