Indian Cig Packs "Steal" Soccer Star's Image

By Will Godfrey 01/03/12

But why would an anti-smoking campaign want to be linked to a highly controversial Chelsea player?

John Terry: on the pitch and on the pack

Premier League tabloid-fodder John Terry is taking legal advice, after an image of him appeared on cigarette packs in India as part of an anti-smoking campaign. The 31-year-old Chelsea and England captain's head and torso—with a colorful pair of lungs superimposed—seems to accompany the message, "SMOKING KILLS." Terry's representatives tell the BBC, " image of our client has been used on some cigarette packaging without our consent or knowledge. We've now instructed our legal team to investigate." At India's Directorate of Visual Publicity, which is responsible for the campaign, confusion reigns: one official states, "How Terry's picture got to be used is unclear," while another claims the image has "nothing to do with John Terry" and is "purely a piece of artistic imagination." It's a mystery why an anti-smoking campaign would pick Terry, with or without permission. The central defender is a multiple trophy-winner but a divisive personality, to say the least. Recently charged with racially abusing opponent Anton Ferdinand during a game, Terry denies the offense, but has been roundly abused by rival fans, who want to see him booted from the British team. India's anti-smoking campaign may have landed on a rare public figure with an image as tarred as cigarettes themselves.  

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Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.