Ferdinand stance criticised by PFA chief
The chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association has criticised Rio and Anton Ferdinand for boycotting an anti-racism T-shirt demonstration.
The Manchester United defender and his brother chose to ignore the campaign launched by Kick It Out last October as they were unhappy that the punishments given to Chelsea’s John Terry, who was banned for four games, and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, who was suspended for eight matches, after they were found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and Patrice Evra respectively were too lenient.
But Clarke Carlisle said their actions damaged a group that is making attempts to end discrimination in football and accused them of "throwing a grenade" at the issue but refusing to commit their own time and efforts to help the cause.
Carlisle wrote in his forthcoming autobiography, 'You Don't Know Me, But... A Footballer's Life’, which is being serialised in the Daily Mail: "It p****s me off that, rather than speaking out and addressing the topic, a few decide to do something as trivial as not wear a t-shirt, then melt back into the crowd.
"Rio and Anton Ferdinand were among a group of high-profile abstainers, along with Joleon Lescott, who has not worn one since Newcastle’s Turkish midfielder Emre was cleared of racially abusing his Everton team-mate Joseph Yobo, and Reading striker Jason Roberts.
"Jason apart, the Premier League ‘big’ players happily throw in a grenade, but do nothing when it explodes, nothing other than appear to hide behind their advisers. That’s because they are s***houses. They have made their ‘statement’ for all to see, but how many are prepared to stand in front of the cameras and be counted?"
Carlisle, who retired in the summer after playing for Blackpool, QPR, Leeds, Watford, Luton, Burnley, Preston, Northampton and York, was also annoyed that top black players refused to appear in a documentary he made, called ‘Is Football Racist?.’
And he said they were happier to criticise him for raising the issue rather than assist in the Kick It Out initiative, for which he is an ambassador.
He added: "The impression conveyed is that I have failed to get people to unite and support the cause. Not only that, I feel under attack from a group of players questioning my position and representation of them on the issue.
"This has really hurt me. Where the hell have they been for the past eight years, when I have seen the same faces at the anti-racism initiatives? I could count on my fingers the guys who have been to the KIO and Show Racism the Red Card workshops and meetings. It seems like they can’t be arsed to join in, because it’s inconvenient to attend on a day off or to contribute something after training. They will readily gun me down for giving my opinion on the subject, though."