Who had heard of Peter Herbert a month or so ago? Anyone? Ok apart from the extremely smart and well-read people. Who apart from them had heard of this man? I thought as much. Well in the past month he has become a bit of a buzz name as he is in all the newspapers and wants to change society for the better. Good on him but changing society for the better is something that needs to be done with a plan or not just a scatter-gun approach and that is where this man is going wrong.
The majority of us first heard about him when he reported referee Mark Clattenberg to the police for using a racial slur against two Chelsea players. He decided it was his job to report said abuse even though he himself didn’t hear it but only had the word of hearsay like the rest of us had. If we all went to the police with allegations after we’d heard someone else say that someone had broken the law then the police would go into meltdown but he is perfectly entitled to report said claims to the police should he want to. I have no issue with that. Well actually I have a huge issue with it but I concede that legally there is no issue with that.
However today the police have decided to close the investigation because no victim has come forward to them and nor have that been able to obtain a shred of evidence. Chelsea Football Club have decided not to share with the police their evidence as they believe the FA are the right party to deal with this case. That is their prerogative but what does Peter Herbert think of this? Does he say ‘fair enough – it is up to those who were allegedly wronged to decide how to proceed’ or does he bleat about a conspiracy to save the skin of the referee?
He chose the latter. ‘It sounds remarkably like a football cover-up’ he said this morning on BBC Radio 5live. ‘It sounds remarkably like the football industry wanted to have this issue swept under the carpet.’ are the next words out of his mouth. Yes the football industry wanted to sweep it under the carpet – that is why Chelsea Football Club went public with the allegations not two hours after they first surfaced despite Chairman Chairman Bruce Buck saying he had agonised long and hard over whether to go public with the allegations but I think that is a crock of shit personally. If I agonised long and hard over an issue I don’t take less than two hours to make up my mind – certainly when it is a fast moving matter with lots of new evidence as he spoke to all the players involved during that time. No Chelsea Football Club certainly wanted it out in the open and they wanted it known that they had accused Mark Clattenberg of using racist language towards two of their players.
So we can pretty much rule of the football club trying to sweep it under the carpet and it is they who have chosen not to cooperate with the police. Remember they did not make a formal police complaint so if no victims or no evidence come to light for the police then they can’t really do anything. This has annoyed Peter Herbert a great deal it must be said.
‘The information we had is that there are ‘no victims’. Well, if there are no victims, what on earth has been referred to the FA in the first place?
‘What on earth are the FA and Chelsea playing at then? Are they having some cosy exchange of statements between themselves and not giving it to the police?
‘We’re going to ask the borough commander for an explanation. Was there any co-operation? Was any evidence given? If none was given by the FA or Chelsea we want to raise that issue with the Minister of Sport.’
‘It really does beggar belief that the primary football authorities in the country do not understand the seriousness of hate crime.’
All of the above was said on BBC Radio 5live this morning and quoted in the article linked to above.
Well there are no victims in a criminal sense because none have come forward. Peter Herbert cannot claim he is a victim because he didn’t hear the alleged exchange between the referee and the player. So only those who heard it – and were offended by it – could be considered victims. Peter Herbert knows this but decided to ignore this as it didn’t fit in with what he wants to happen. He wants a police investigation not because it would get to the bottom of it but because it would give him a stronger platform to get his views across.
The borough commander will write back to Peter Herbert saying lots of nice things but will say something like ‘err…Peter. Sorry to tell you this but Jon Obi Mikel nor Juan Manuel Mata have come to us and made a complaint and we have to unable to get any testimony from anyone involved on the potential victims side so there is kinda no case to answer to. As a barrister I think you probably should know how these things work and stop wasting my time’ or words to that effect.
Hate crime is extremely serious and I’m pretty sure the FA know this. Remember they still charged and found John Terry guilty of using racist language despite a criminal court deciding that he didn’t. The difference between that case and this is Anton Ferdinand – the alleged victim wanted to cooperate with police and Mikel and Mata seemingly do not. Shouldn’t the alleged victims decide whether or not they want to take a matter to the police or should outsiders get to decide how each of us live our lives?
Anyway Herbert isn’t finished. Oh no. He wants Spurs fans to stop using the word ‘Yid’ and has given them a fortnight to comply before he reports every single Spurs fan who uses that term to the police. You think I’m joshing don’t you? Well I’m not. Read all about it in the Mirror. He also wants to set up a football association for just black players. Yeah that won’t fester an ‘us and them’ mentality. Of course it wouldn’t Peter…
I don’t know Peter Herbert from Adam as it were but he comes across as a man with no idea what he is talking about but he sure loves the sound of his own voice. He has decided out of nowhere that the game of football needs sorting out having attended a grand total of four games in his entire life he knows the game inside and out. Now the thing is he does make some pertinent points but they are being drowned out by his attempts at making waves.
It is not his job to decide how two football players deal with alleged racist insults towards them. No-one asked him to get involved and he has just taken it on his own back that he is the man to save the day. Well the thing is he isn’t. These two football players are grown men and can decide how they go forward. He is using a high profile case to get on his soapbox and either make a name for himself or he genuinely thinks it is his place to stick his oar in. Whichever it is he isn’t exactly helping the game – or the two players – by the way he is acting. He is trying to stir up racial tensions and when someone is doing that then personally I always question their motives…