How do you reconcile the fact that Chelsea star John Terry received a four-game match for making a racist insult while Liverpool's Luis Suarez received an eight-match ban? And how could he have been found guilty of calling QPR's Anton Ferdinand "f****** black c***" by an English Football Association regulatory panel after being acquitted in criminal court?
Guardian columnist David Conn says a four-game ban "is the entry-point" for a violation of the FA's rule against abusive and insulting words and behavior and that the panel that handed down the verdict must not have found any "aggravating factor" for increasing the punishment. In the Suarez case, the FA panel doubled the minimum penalty to "reflect the gravity of the misconduct."
Terry was acquitted of criminal charges three months ago. The distinction is that Terry's criminal charges needed to be proved beyond reasonable doubt, while the FA proceedings were a civil case in which the proof required is the balance of probabilities.
Terry's defense was that he was merely repeating what Ferdinand thought he called him not what he said to him. The Chelsea captain was awaiting publication of the written findings in the case before deciding whether to appeal. Pending an appeal, he is eligible to play for Chelsea and should be in action when it faces Arsenal on Saturday.