Here are some of the best extracts:
How would most major private or public institutions react if one of their leading figures – say, the chief executive – was found guilty by an independent commission of saying, in public to a competitor, "You f***ing black c*** ... f***ing k***head"?
They would sack them.
If Chelsea – who have said they will wait to see if Terry appeals before making clear their intentions and on Saturday confirmed there will be a "disciplinary process" with Ashley Cole – choose not to do that, what reasons will they – and their owner, Roman Abramovich – give for not taking this course of action? Are they happy their captain has been found guilty of lying? Are they happy that he uses the phrase "You f***ing black c*** ... f***ing k***head" in public? Are they happy for this man to be their captain?
To be their leader? Really?
Are Chelsea fans happy to have their team led by a man who uses a racist insult? Will Chelsea fans – and with social media there are many opportunities for them to find their voice, how about #sackjohnterrynow? – signal their disapproval of their "leader"? Because if they don't, then how can they take a credible stand on racism in public life ever again? They can't. There is no reason for being equivocal about racism.
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Maybe it is time we simply took Ashley Cole for what he plainly is. Or for what he has plainly become.
Stupid, naïve, coarse, starved of sane advice, embittered, irrational, trapped in football’s familiar world of privilege and excess.
The moment to rip his character to shreds had passed even before THAT tweet, the stick with which to beat him was big enough without Friday’s vulgar nonsense.
How did it happen? How did a personable, vibrant, carefree, homegrown, ultra-talented youngster morph into a personification of practically all things reprehensible in the elite modern game?
Because his like are indulged, deified by those who should be disciplining, convinced by cronies that the normal rules of everyday, humdrum life do not apply, lulled into a sense of invincibility by the lickspittles that surround them.
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Chelsea's reputation has been significantly tainted. They are, after all, the champions of Europe. As such, they are expected to set a tone and a standard to which lesser clubs might aspire.
Even a surface reading of that damning judgment will convey just how far they have fallen below those expectations. And, in turn, their scandalous conduct has cast a shadow across the whole of the English game.
No longer can we condemn the ugly excesses of Spaniards, Italians, Ukrainians and the rest, when one of our showpiece clubs have behaved with such squalid duplicity. So this time we need something more than the usual evasions and obfuscations from the owner's flunkeys.
We need an explanation, a statement of intent and a public apology from the man himself. He may not take kindly to the notion of breaking his silence. But it is high time that Roman Abramovich found his voice.
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The words of Martin Luther King will greet England’s footballers when they check into St George’s Park for the first time this week. The words are painted on a corridor wall outside the dressing rooms, the words picked by the Football Association to inspire the players, words that call for men of substance, men of moral fibre. Interesting choice.
The words from the slain US civil-rights activist are these: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”
How long Roy Hodgson’s players linger to disseminate King’s thoughts is another matter but the FA is quietly trying to make a point: the game’s guardians want to develop the person as well as the player.
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Yet again we are forced to turn to Ashley Cole for the most succinct summary of the FA commission’s report into the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand affair. Ashley is becoming a bit of an oracle, a fount of wisdom on this issue. Having read the report, or having had it read to him slowly by somebody he employs for this purpose, Ashley, via the medium of Twitter, natch, commented: “Hahahahaaaaaa. Well done #FA. I lied did I? BUNCH OF TW***.”
We were initially told that as a consequence of what seems to me an extremely accurate summation, if somewhat robustly expressed, Cole’s England career may be in jeopardy. The tweet has since been removed, and I suppose this, plus a writhing statement of regret, should be taken to imply a form of contrition. I wish Ashley hadn’t been contrite: the FA in effect called him a liar and impugned the conduct and reputation of both the club for which he plays and, of course, his friend and captain, John Terry. It has all made me rather more favourably inclined towards Ashley and Chelsea than was hitherto the case. Come on you Blues, etc.
Cole, remember, is the one person in all of this farrago who was definitely, unequivocally, racially abused — which occurred when Rio Ferdinand was delighted to hear his England colleague described as a Magnum or a Solero or something, again on Twitter. A choc-ice, that was it. A lying choc-ice now. Not very nice, is it?
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Chelsea may be Abramovich's executive toy, but the club has corporate and social responsibilities. The obvious inconsistency between its "zero tolerance" approach to racism, and the identity of its captain must be addressed if the FA decision stands..
One needed only to flick to page 11 in yesterday's programme to appreciate the dilemma. There, under the portentious headline "Building Bridges" the club urged fans to "help us tackle discrimination at Stamford Bridge".
It reminded supporters that "any form of racist or indecent chanting is an arrestable offence", and gave text and telephone numbers with which to report incidents. Fine words, but meaningless while Terry remains a pivotal figure.
- Ashley Cole
- Roman Abramovich