Oh dear, Chelsea. Another racism scandal? What a pickle. How shall we go about handling this one? Of course, it’s important to consider the values and ethics you hold as a club as well as how and why another one of your players has gone about offending an entire group of people. I’m sure that’s exactly the approach you’ve taken in the past. Let’s just take a quick look shall we? See if we can sort this little mess out. I’m sure it’s just a case of a public apology and a slap on the wrist.
Right, let’s see.
2012, John Terry calls Anton Ferdinand a black c***. The FA gives him a four game ban and a £220,000 fine. Chelsea issues their own private punishment and releases a public statement that’s ultimately criticised for being too soft. Terry goes on to captain the side the following week.
Fast forward to 2015, a group of Chelsea supporters are filmed racially abusing a French commuter on the Metro. This time the response is swift and strong. Those found guilty are given lifetime bans and the victim is issued a satisfactory apology.
Now here we are in present day and Brazilian player Kenedy has stirred up more trouble for the team, recently offending China in a series of social media posts. His actions have resulted in him being sent home, and if you’re looking for Chelsea, you can find them on their knees begging for forgiveness.
“Everyone at Chelsea football club has the utmost respect and admiration for China and loves our Chinese fans. It is because of this that the negative impact we have seen over the last two days has left us shocked and saddened. Once again, we sincerely apologise for the hurt caused to our Chinese fans as well as to the Chinese people.”
Click here for Chelsea’s full and very long apology to China.
So why is Kenedy’s punishment and Chelsea’s apology so much stronger compared to that of Terry’s? A fine and a ban would surely have been sufficient – that seems to have worked in the past.
Except actually, no. No, that’s not going to work this time, is it? China are actually pretty big and important, and, you know, pissed off.
Equally, Kenedy is quite a new and relatively unknown member of the Chelsea squad, unlike Terry. His true value is very much yet to be proven.
In fact, the support Chelsea gave to Terry can only be topped by Liverpool. In 2011, the entire team wore shirts with Luis Suarez’ face on them in support of the disgraced striker. Would the team have printed shirts if Jon Flanaghan had racially abused Patrice Evra?
In 2015 Nigel Pearson’s son was sacked by Leicester following a racist Thai orgy video (as the Mirror so tastefully put it). At the time his son was on the periphery of the squad, value yet to be proven. Would this have happened if Jamie Vardy had been the perpetrator?
Oh wait, actually, didn’t he once call someone a ‘Jap’ in a casino? That’s right, he was fined and sent on a diversity awareness programme. Job done.
Rather than Chelsea becoming increasingly non-tolerant of racism, it seems more likely that China is far more valuable to them than Kenedy. For now at least. China offer them billions and billions of pounds, and no player, least of all bloody Kenedy, is going to jeopardise that.
Could that be the real lesson here? Don’t be openly racist until your team really depends on you. Then fill your boots.
This isn’t to point the finger at Chelsea, or football clubs in general. Big Businesses usually commit to saving the planet once they’ve been found guilty of employing slaves and destroying the environment. 100% sustainable cocoa. Thanks to our 100% disgraceful business practices going public.
In fact so many teams travel the world without causing offence that you have to put these incidents down to the foolish actions of a silly young man when he was at work. Even if work is kicking a ball around a pitch.
The real test of Chelsea’s newly found passion for equality will be when one of their big names offends someone who has little monetary or commercial value. Watch this space.
I’ll leave you with a very scientific interpretation of Chelsea’s contrived apologies vs. importance of victim.