Anton Ferdinand reveals guilt at not speaking out during racism case against John Terry

Anton Ferdinand has spoken about the guilt he felt at not speaking out during his high-profile racism case against John Terry.The former West Ham, QPR and Sunderland defender has opened up about the c

Anton Ferdinand reveals guilt at not speaking out during racism case against John Terry

Anton Ferdinand has spoken about the guilt he felt at not speaking out during his high-profile racism case against John Terry.

The former West Ham, QPR and Sunderland defender has opened up about the case for the first time in the BBC documentary Anton Ferdinand: Football, Racism and Me.

Then-Chelsea and England captain Terry was accused of using racist language during a Premier League match between QPR and Chelsea on October 23, 2011.

Although Terry was acquitted in a criminal case related to the incident, after it was judged it could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt the words were spoken as abuse, a Football Association independent disciplinary panel, working to a lower threshold, did find him guilty.

Anton Ferdinand played for Queens Park Rangers between 2011 and 2013
Image: Anton Ferdinand played for Queens Park Rangers between 2011 and 2013

While Ferdinand did not hear the words at the time, the defender was advised not to comment on the incident publicly while also suffering a torrent of racist abuse online - something he regrets not speaking out about at the time.

"I still carry a feeling of letting people down for not speaking up," Anton Ferdinand said. "I still feel guilt and it eats away at me more than anything and I don't know how to get rid of it.

"At the time I was angry more than anything and I knew that because I was angry, if I spoke out about it then I would have become a stereotype of a young black man who fires from the hip and shouts his mouth off."

Rio Ferdinand has spoken about the racist abuse his younger brother Anton experienced during the John Terry case.
Image: Rio Ferdinand has spoken about the racist abuse his younger brother Anton experienced during the John Terry case.

Rio: I felt powerless to Anton's situation

Anton Ferdinand's older brother Rio also took part in the documentary and believes the case had a detrimental effect on his brother's career.

Rio was Terry's England team-mate at the time and also regrets not discussing the case not only with his brother but publicly as well.

"The incident was probably the catalyst for the downturn of his career," Rio Ferdinand said.

"Who knows how I would have reacted if at every stadium I went to people were making you feel like you were the instigator and aggressor in the situation when you were really the victim.

"Shouting obscenities all the time regarding the case so you can never get away from it.

"I was confused and disappointed with the way it unravelled and we never really spoke about it - I don't know why we never did in depth.

"Everyone was saying, bar a few close friends, family, mum especially and dad, were telling us to say nothing - let the lawyers deal with it and let it go to court and it will be sorted out.

"And I feel guilty because all I kept thinking was - how is this happening to my brother? I should have spoken out but I just felt powerless."

John Terry and Anton Ferdinand
Image: John Terry and Anton Ferdinand during the Premier League match between QPR and Chelsea on October 23, 2011

FA denies favouring Terry after Ferdinand documentary

The FA has denied showing favouritism to Terry during the racism investigation.

In the documentary, Anton Ferdinand criticised the FA's handling of the high-profile case, saying he "didn't feel like the victim" when speaking to investigators from the governing body.

However, the FA released a statement immediately after the programme had aired to deny any suggestion its investigation favoured the defender.

English football's governing body said it "believed in the case against Terry" and that it stripped him of the England captaincy before Euro 2012 "early in the process".

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A statement read: "Believing in the case against John Terry, they (the FA's regulatory team) worked tirelessly to ensure that the case put before the disciplinary panel was robust, having appropriately recorded and challenged all relevant witness evidence, which ultimately resulted in a successful prosecution before an FA Disciplinary Panel.

"Early in the process, The FA also removed John Terry as England captain due to the seriousness of the allegations. It showed him no favouritism and made clear how serious the allegations were taken."

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