A judge cleared John Terry of charges today that he racially abused another player, Anton Ferdinand, during an English professional game in October 2011.
The five-day case concluded with Terry – a member of the English national team who plays with Chelsea in London – admitting he often uses foul language during games, but it’s never racially motivated.
The Ferdinand-Terry case turned into a case for the hearing impaired, with Terry insisting he was only repeating what Ferdinand accused him of saying.
“It is therefore possible that what he (Terry) said was not intended as an insult, but rather as a challenge to what he believed had been said to him,” Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle said, according to BBC.
It must have gone something like this: “What’d you call me?” “I didn’t call you that.” “You called me what?” Well, that could go on forever.
This isn’t Terry’s first brush with courts or controversy, either.
The 31-year-old father of two – once voted Father of the Year in a British promotion – has a long history of back-page headlines devoted to his personal life. Here are some of the, er, lowlights.
Burning the Bridges
Terry allegedly cheated on his wife, Toni, with his best friend’s girl. While he and Wayne Bridge were teammates, the press accused him of impregnating Vanessa Perroncel.
It led to a long, ugly tabloid trial where the only loser was Perroncel, a French lingerie model and the mother of Bridge’s son. She received the full tabloid treatment.
“Masses of journalists are outside my door,” she told The Guardian. “I have my three-year-old son, he keeps asking who are these bad men taking pictures. I just tried to go on as if nothing was happening. I told him not to look at them.”
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Terry and three Chelsea teammates hurled – insults and vomit – as Americans in a Heathrow airport hotel watched TV coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The team fined them two weeks’ pay, and forced them to apologize.
“They had no decency or respect,” their coach, Claudio Ranieri, said.
In comparison to the 9/11 incident, Terry’s cloudy role in a barroom brawl less than a year later seems tepid. Someone shouted slurs, someone threw a bottle – then punches – and a bouncer came out with cuts on his face.
“He has been under enormous stress and strain after the monstrous and outrageous allegations. Justice has been done,” a Terry spokesman said after the August 2002 case.
He admitted to many, many extramarital affairs – nine by The Mirror’s count. It’s unclear if that includes the 17-year-old girl who admits making out with Terry in the backseat of his Bentley, but says they didn’t have sex.
“I really regret what I’ve done to Toni,” he said in 2007. “I’m not going to cheat on her ever again.”
Terry’s father (cocaine dealing), mother and mother-in-law (shoplifting) have escaped brushes with the law.
Edward Terry pleaded guilty to dealing a small amount of drugs to a News of the World reporter posing as a chauffeur in 2010.
The reporter befriended Edward, dragged him into a story about visiting millionaires and then asked him where to find cocaine. Terry claimed entrapment, but a judge sentenced him to community service and made him pay a small fine.
“He is said to be full of remorse and is embarrassed and ashamed his actions have brought the publicity on his son that they have,” his lawyer, Neil Saunders, told BBC.
Police arrested Sue Terry and Sue Poole for stealing $1,200 worth of clothing and food in 2009.
They accepted a “police caution,” meaning no jail time or fines; however, a caution in England means you accept blame, something they said police didn’t tell them.
“They didn’t do anything wrong,” a defense lawyer said. “They didn’t have legal advice and weren’t aware they were admitting guilt.”
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