The John Terry story gets more lurid by the day. According to the Sunday Mirror, he got Wayne Bridge's girlfriend pregnant and then arranged for her to have an abortion. In addition, he allegedly lied to Bridge when confronted about the affair. The non football fans among you will already be questioning why I am writing about this on a political blog. Well, it's because there are many legal and public interest implications arising from this story.
Public opinion is being polarised between those who think that a man with the morals of an alley cat should be dropped from the England team and be sacked as captain, and those who think that these issues have nothing to do with his football playing ability and his position shouldn't be affected. Until today I thought he could ride out the storm and keep his position, but if the Mirror revelations are true, I think it materially alters things.
The key here is the attitude of Wayne Bridge himself. Could he really play in the same team as Terry in the future? The Sunday Telegraph reckons that Fabio Capello will leave the decision to Bridge. If he says no, Terry will be sacked as Captain. But what happens if he says he can't even be in the same squad? It is almost unthinkable that John Terry would be dropped from the World Cup squad altogether. His talismanic status is legendary and there's no doubt that he possesses leadership skills many of his teammates simply do not. I am afraid the fact is that John Terry is more important to the team than Wayne Bridge, and Bridge knows that. If Capello does leave the decision to him, it will be interesting to see which way his decision falls. Interestingly, none of their teammates have spoken out. That's not a surprise, but Capello will no doubt be taking soundings from some of the senior players.
John Terry, of course, tried his best to ensure that none of us knew any of the details of what he has got up to. He deployed a Super Injunction, but ultimately it fell to pieces. A new government must look at the law in this area. The rich and famous should not be able to use the law in ways which are no topen to the rest of us. Super Injunctions appear to be used by celebrities to invoke a privacy law by the back door. I know of at least two other cases - one involving a footballer and one involving a media personality - which fall into this category.
I hope politicians and lawyers will examine this aspect of the law, and question whether it should now be reformed.