The QPR player, on loan at Marseille, was banned for 12 games last season for violent conduct in the title-deciding game between his club and Manchester City. Barton was sent off in that game for a foul on Carlos Tevez and was subsequently thrown the book by the FA for stamping on his Argentine compatriot Sergio Aguero.
Barton claimed the FA should be “embarrassed” at their decision to ban John Terry for only four matches for using “abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour” towards Barton’s teammate Anton Ferdinand last October.
Barton who has earned himself an infamous reputation over his career claimed that by the "FA's perverse reckoning" he would have "got less of a ban for racially abusing the Man City players than tickling them like I did". He questioned, "In what circumstances can that be right?"
Whilst it might be suggested Barton is in no position to question the FA and/or John Terry, he does make a point – one which other’s have made – former England striker Gary Lineker echoed Barton’s concerns that Terry’s four-game ban was a little on the lenient side.
"The FA find John Terry guilty and give him a four-match ban and 220K fine. Just one game more than a regular red card?" Lineker also tweeted.
There have also been comparisons made to Luis Suarez’s ban. The Liverpool striker, although judged by the FA not to be a “racist” was handed an eight-game band, twice the length of Terry’s, for being an
"international footballer playing for one of the best known clubs in the world, a position that carries a particular degree of responsibility. This is a serious breach of that responsibility."
Suarez used the word “negro” seven times in an incident involving Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
There are concerns that the FA is showing bias and favouritism towards the former England captain.
If the FA found John Terry guilty of what you or I would deem racism, and if calling someone a “f***ing black c***” live on national television, broadcast around the world to millions of people, many of whom may well be black, or not black but just highly offended by such blatantly prejudiced language, then the FA have somewhat minimized the issue.
Whilst I wouldn’t condone Barton’s violence or Suarez’s use of the word “negro” (which I’m pretty sure is also abusive, given the context) I, like Barton and Lineker, can not wrap my head around the numbers – why is calling someone a “negro” worth eight games and a “f***ing black c***” worth only four?
I think the FA’s decision is one that is merely a gesture – a poorly judged one at that – to be seen to be tackling the issue of racism that clearly still exists in the game, and the culture, whilst not actually having to tackle it. It’s a token gesture.