Racism is of course not solely a football problem. It's a societal problem of which football is its most public symptom. This is why it is so crucial that when it emerges in the game it is dealt with seriously and without any attempt at equivocation or sympathy towards those guilty of propagating or normalising it.
Credibility is fundamental to campaigning organisations. People need to trust you in order to back your campaign and - crucially - tell someone else about it. They want to know you are speaking out and standing up for what you believe in. But you also need to have some access to those in power if you are to get them to listen to you and secure change.
There will be a million words and countless opinions on the written reasons for the John Terry verdict published by the FA. It is possibly one of the most contrived and brazenly arrogant documents you are likely to read; what shocks is how there seems to be little attempt to veil the hearing's motivation but more stunning still is that it shows a process so bewilderingly, frantically determined to get its man that the outcome is even worse than we could have thought.
When the FA assembled its learned John Terry star chamber, chaired by an as yet anonymous QC, we can be in no doubt that justice was going to "seen to be done". But the desired effect has been achieved. A procession of hacks, no doubt gnashing their teeth with rage and indignation when the judge delivered his verdict at the court trial have had a revival.
From a human perspective, I have rarely been a big fan of his. But there is a pattern and a level of vituperation for this player that extends from the very top of the game in the form of the FA through to fans and all the way to his fellow professionals. And it smashes all of the principles of natural justice and due process to smithereens.
It seems strange that one of years most high profile court cases was best summed up by the closing lines of a man who many, including a number inside the courtroom, believed to lack intelligence. Ashley Cole ended his cross-examination by prosecution lawyer Duncan Penny - telling him, "We shouldn't even be sitting here."