This time there could be no doubt about the context of the word used.
‘Untenable’ was how John Terry and his advisors described his position and ended his England career.
The surprise is his international career lasted so long after nearly three years of upset and turmoil off the field. The timing suggests he has simply jumped before being pushed.
His relationship with the English Football Association (FA) was already a fragile one, but their decision to charge him after he was cleared by a court of law took it towards breaking point.
After 11 months of racism allegations hanging over him, Terry and his advisors decided to ‘get their retaliation in first’. His statement pre-empted by a matter of hours his FA hearing into the alleged racist insulting of Anton Ferdinand.
‘The FA, in pursuing charges against me where I have already been cleared in a court of law, have made my position with the national team untenable,”
The fact he was happy to play in a World Cup qualifier in Moldova earlier his month suggests his advisors have now braced him for a guilty verdict from the FA, whose independent hearing will operate on different lines to a magistrates court.
He was cleared of abusing Ferdinand in an English court of law – his defence was that he repeated back an offensive phrase as a form of denial.
The magistrate said his explanation was “under the cold light of forensic examination, unlikely.” But found Terry not guilty using the reasonable doubt aspect of English law.
The FA waited until this legal process was completed before charging Terry. The hearing is independent but this time it’s about the balance of probability – leaving Terry more likely to be found guilty and to face a lengthy ban from playing for Chelsea.
Earlier this year Liverpool’s Louis Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially insulting Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in another high profile case.
Terry made his England debut in 2003 and won 78 caps.
Even his critics, of which there are many, would accept England benefitted from his ability to defend and lead a team. But since the start of 2010 his international career has been marred by controversy.
Twice the captaincy was removed from him. Firstly in 2010 for an alleged affair with team mate’s partner, the fall out contributing to a disastrous World Cup for England.
Fabio Capello reinstated him but in February this year both Terry and Capello lost their roles, Terry over racism allegations, Capello over the subsequent falling out with the FA.
His trial being held back until July enabled him to play in the European Championship, but another tournament ended in another dismal failure for England.
Amongst Chelsea fans Terry remains a leader, a hero, an icon, effectively Mr Chelsea.
Elsewhere – even amongst those who rate his defending – he is mainly unpopular. Unsurprising, considering the material he has given his critics to feed their hatred of him.
Terry phoned England manager Roy Hodgson with his decision, which he says broke his heart.
His reputation as England captain, then his relationship with the Football Association was already broken.