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That wasn’t all Terry’s fault you know. October 29, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in English soccer.
Tags: , , , ,

In all the acrimony surrounding John Terry’s epochally hilarious pratfall in Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal this Saturday, it seems to have been decided that the goal was all Terry’s fault by people such as Paul Hayward of the Guardian.

Of course, the slip was a glaring and eminently replayable mistake. But Hayward, for one, is so compelled by its narrative possibilities that he torpedoes reality to describe it. Hayward claims the slip was part of Terry’s response to a “simple back-pass” from midfielder Florent Malouda.

Watch the replay. That’s no simple back-pass. Malouda slips the ball behind Terry, forcing him to turn toward his own goal. The blogger on 101greatgoals, who claims to be Zico even though he probably isn’t, is more reliable than Hayward when he says “Malouda ‘released'” Robin van Persie. If Terry had stayed on his feet, he might not have been able to reach the ball, and would have been spared the headlines too.

There’s something larger this indicates: it’s not just media desperate for narratives either. Media are market-based and this particular narrative is so appealing because we, the media consumers, are desperate to see John Terry punished  for using the words “black cunt” when talking to Anton Ferdinand.

If he did, I guess he should probably suffer. I don’t like Terry personally myself. But all the same, as Brian Phillips argues here, there feels like being something wrong with believing one reaps sporting consequences for his actions. It shouldn’t make sense.



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