Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand says he regrets not speaking out during John Terry’s race row with his brother, Anton Ferdinand, and says he still does not speak to the Chelsea legend.
Terry was banned by the FA for four games and fined £220,000 after using ‘abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour… which included a reference to colour and/or race’ in relation to the then QPR star Anton during a game at Loftus Road in October 2011, though was cleared of the charges at Westminster Magistrates’ Court a few weeks earlier.
Ferdinand called Terry ‘the biggest idiot’ in his autobiography years later and now concedes he was too slow to talk about his and his brother’s side of the argument in public and would do things differently now.
Asked if there were any occasions where he wished he had spoken out, Ferdinand told The Beautiful Game Podcast: ‘The John Terry and my brother situation, if I could rewind the clock now I would have spoke out from day one and I would have said to my brother, “Speak now and say it”.
‘Because we were advised, just remember there’s lawyers in the background that represent us, that represent the club, that represent the Premier League, that represent the PFA, that represent the FA.
‘So you’ve got all these different people talking and saying what’s right, what’s best for you, what’s best for football, what’s best for X, Y and Z.
‘You get in this cloud, and you’re in this bubble, and you’re thinking, “Raaaa” and you just take on the professional advice and you just think what’s the best thing for everyone concerned, because you don’t want to be selfish in this situation.
‘And you end up being quiet, staying in the background and hoping that it plays out the way that you think it should. Like if anyone looks at the situation it should play out a certain way, because you think facts are there for people to see. So it will just happen.’
Asked if he’s on good terms with John Terry now, Rio Ferdinand replied bluntly: ‘Na. Naaaa.
‘The problem is we did it from a pure heart point of view, our hearts are pure in this situation. But not everyone is like that and when your heart’s pure and you don’t speak, you get punished. I’ve worked that out now.
‘You’re the ones who get punished, and you’re the ones who get tarnished, and you’re the ones who get labelled. Whether that’s because you don’t speak, or whether it’s because you’re black, or whether it’s because I don’t know. But I just think now I would speak, straight away. To my brother I would say, “Speak, speak, speak”.’