In case you haven't heard about the John Terry verdict...
It was the verdict that nearly broke Twitter. Chelsea defender John Terry has been found not guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence against Anton Ferdinand.
Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle delivered the verdict in a London courtroom today after a five-day trial during which Terry and Ferdinand gave evidence about an exchange of insults that took place between the pair during a Premier League clash between Chelsea and QPR last year.
Having witnessed YouTube footage of the incident after the match, Ferdinand alleged that Terry had called him a "f**king black c**t", an insult that Terry claimed he was merely sarcastically repeating to Ferdinand, having believed that Ferdinand had alleged him of using those words in the first place.
In the end, it seems there was reasonable doubt over whether Terry had committed a racially aggravated public order offence, thus saving him the bother of having to pay a fine of £2,500, but more importantly, it would seem, clearing his name and potentially preventing the FA from taking similar action as they did in the case of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, although it remains to be seen how the governing body will react to the verdict.
Commenting on the verdict, Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London said: “The very serious allegation at the heart of this case was not one of racial abuse. It was our view that this was not “banter” on the football pitch and that the allegation should be judged by a court. The Chief Magistrate agreed that Mr. Terry had a case to answer, but having heard all of the evidence, he acquitted Mr Terry of a racially aggravated offence. That is justice being done and we respect the Chief Magistrate’s decision.”
A quick check on Twitter will give you an idea of the extent of the reaction to the verdict and unsurprisingly, quite a lot of it was fairly vitriolic.
Former QPR defender (One Size) Fitz Hall, for example, posted the following message immediately after the verdict was delivered.
Regardless of the verdict, nobody came out of this trial in a positive light and by the sounds of the exchanges that took place; a lot of work has to be done in an effort to clean up football’s image.
For now, Terry can be happy that he got off the hook and no doubt by the time you’ve read this, you’ll have already seen one of the widely circulated and entirely predictable photoshopped pictures of him celebrating the decision in his full Chelsea kit, such as the one below.
Pic via Twitter/Ricky Camilleri