i Editor's Letter: How we could learn a thing or two about justice from the Americans


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The Independent Online


Imagine you have wanted to do something all your life; that you have worked hard at school, excelled at university, focused hard on trying to prove you can do something well in the face of extreme competition and finally convinced people near the pinnacle of the trade or profession you have aspired to crack to give you a chance. Imagine all the above lands you a plum role at an NBC TV channel as an anchorman.

And then, what happens in the first second of your first evening on air for NBC’s KFYR network in North Dakota after all the excitement of landing the job, sharing your nearest and dearest’s pride and love, and the nervous adrenalin rush ahead of your debut? What happens when you are not quite sure whether your live mic is on or not at that crucial moment and under all that pressure and stress, instead of doing the right thing that you have trained to do, you do exactly the wrong thing, and the first two words you ever utter on live TV are “f***ing s***”?

What happens is that despite you instantly wishing you could suck the words back in and start again, and despite the surprised but professional reaction of your female co-anchor, if you are A J Clemente, your gaffe goes viral globally and you become almost as infamous as Luis Suarez.

It being America however, swearing on air is deemed a more heinous offence than biting another player in a football match is in Britain. “That couldn’t have gone any worse,” he wrote, with honesty, on his Twitter feed. He apologised. And then NBC suspended him. On his first day.

Are you watching, Liverpool?