A Cautionary Tale: J.T. and the Sanctimonious Whores of the Media

All week, the English media has been full of the lurid details of the sexual misdemeanours of the England football captain, John Terry, with much tut-tutting in the editorial columns about how the England captain should be above such sordid romps, especially when they are with some woman who may just have had a liaison with one of the reserve left-backs…and the bump & grind hacks of the gutter press are promising more revelations to come.

So a footballer has crossed the line and done the nasty with some bimbo or other….this is hardly news.  Since George Best downed his first champagne cocktail, there have been plenty of footballers ready to parlay their ‘status’ for a quick knee-trembler out the back behind the dustbins and plenty of young girls ready to do the horizontal mambo with any Premier League journeyman they can lay their sweaty little maulers on.  So what’s the real story here?

Is it because John Terry was the captain of England or is there something more to this?  Is there a connection with the undeniable fact that Terry’s family have had a collective malfunction over the last 12 months or so?   To recap: Mum & Mum-in-Law done for shoplifting, Dad done for selling cocaine and good ol’ JT himself implicated in backhanders for tours of the Chelsea training ground (not proven) and some wretchedly dodgy promotional scam to maximise his status and earning power as England captain  

And somehow in the midst of all of this, he wins an award for being ‘Father of the Year’…..you have to laugh, really…..

“Your Mum wants to know if you wanna  buy some flip-flops”  JT and his Dad share a tender moment

Whatever the case, you have to ask if there is there anything more repellent than the attitude of the media in all of this…to paraphrase someone from some movie I cannot recall ‘God save us from the sanctimoniousness of whores…’

These wretched lowlifes (journalists, paparazzi et al) are the same people who wait outside nightclubs until 4 am for the likes of JT to emerge, who then try to ‘rehabilitate’ him by doing  fluff pieces ‘at home with the England skipper and his delightful family’ and who are now crucifying him on the moral high ground they suddenly seem to have temporarily rediscovered until it suits them to abandon it in favour of something juicier…

Poor old JT just doesn’t get it, because like a lot of footballers, he’s actually not very bright.  His family’s antics over the last year suggest that he never had much in the way of moral guidance anyway.  In America, the Terrys would be dismissed as ‘trailer trash’ or jumped-up hillbillies.  The press have hung JT out to dry and he just doesn’t quite realise it yet.  He’s been so used to having things his own way (apart from that penalty miss in the Moscow rain…ooops!) and he hasn’t had to cope with hardship or setbacks or anything much that has been negative for some considerable time.

Moscow 2008: JT’s finest hour….and we love him for it….

And now, the granite-faced Italian who manages the England football team, Fabio Capello has stripped Terry of his captain’s armband and made him look as pathetic he did after missing that Moscow penalty (see above).  No-one will be too surprised as Capello has a reputation for being a bit of a disciplinarian, but Fabio needs to be a little bit careful, because if he’s fishing for moral probity and stiff-upper-lip characters in the England squad, he’s trawling in a very shallow puddle.  Terry’s successor, Rio Ferdinand, has a habit of missing drug tests and next in line Steven Gerrard recently got acquitted by a jury of moustachio’d men with perms in shellsuits in a Liverpool courtroom for battering some hapless DJ who refused to play ‘The Birdy Song’ for him (allegedly).

However, the most desperately depressing aspect of all this is not the sullying of the ‘Corinthian’ values attached to captaining the England football team – that process probably began in 1970 when during a pre-World Cup visit, England captain Bobby Moore was nabbed in Colombia for apparently stealing a bracelet from some bling shop in Bogota. Then, the nation reacted with horror.  Naval squadrons were despatched to the Gulf of Maracaibo, stiff diplomatic letters were exchanged, there were sharp intakes of breath from Tunbridge Wells to Tewksbury and mutterings about ‘bloody dagoes’….no, the truly depressing aspect of all this is that Terry failed to ‘do the right thing’ and resign, because he probably doesn’t understand what the ‘right thing’ is in such circumstances. 

Like many people (myself included) Capello thinks the whole captaincy issue is overrated.  It actually doesn’t really matter who captains the England football team as long as they are ‘a safe pair of hands’.  However, some people see the captaincy as some kind of Grail and therefore being seen to do the right thing is important.  Terry did not do the right thing about this extramural affair and therefore should have stepped down, making lots of  face-saving comments about spending more time with his family and putting his family ahead of anything else.  Then at least, he might have retained a few shreds of dignity, shown a little humility and retained a modicum of respect in some quarters.

Instead, he hung that glass jaw out in the wind, insisting that he would do nothing until he had spoken to Capello, thereby forcing Capello to display the ‘cojones’ that Terry so obviously lacks by firing him inside 12 minutes at their Wembley showdown yesterday.

John Terry with the Daddies Sauces Dad of the Year title for 2009

“Who’s the daddy?”

Apologists for Terry (who, oddly, seem to support Chelsea for the most part) will no doubt say that the media have stitched their beloved JT up, whilst the rest of us are left to reflect on a ‘Father of the Year’ who is clearly without any real moral compass at all, who thinks that he can do what he likes and have it all without fear of rebuke or recrimination and who has simply added to the stereotype of the ‘thick’ footballer with too much money and too little common sense.  He leaves the armband behind him, bereft of dignity and scuttles back to Chelsea to lick his wounds.

Rio Ferdinand takes on the poisoned chalice, but I’d at least have offered it to Beckham; for someone who was supposed to epitomise that ‘Thick Footballer from Outer London’. David (and his much-maligned Missus) showed themselves to be extremely savvy operators when it came to dealing with the media.   Safe hands, but hands that may not play anything more than a cameo role in this summer’s World Cup.

For the last word on JT, it’s perhaps worth revisiting this quote….’I definitely see my success as a chance to repay my family.’   One can only wonder how much he owes them….must be loadsamoney….

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