Terry says helping Africans ‘shows he’s not racist’

2012-07-10 14:27

London – Chelsea captain John Terry pointed to his work helping African footballers and their charities as evidence he isn’t prejudiced during police interviews heard at his racism trial.

The England defender lost the national team captaincy over accusations he racially abused Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match last October.

In a statement to police heard in court on the second day of the trial, Terry insisted that the language he used was “responsive and not accusatory”.

The 31-year-old centre back says he was merely repeating the term to Ferdinand to counter what he believed he was being accused of.

Defending his character to police, Terry highlighted his work helping to integrate a “multicultural group of players” at Chelsea and his long-standing support for the charity work of black former teammates Marcel Desailly and Didier Drogba.

“My commitment to the projects demonstrates I’m not racist,” Terry told police.

Terry, who was in the dock for a second day, faces a maximum fine of £2 500 pounds (about R31 785) if he becomes the first top football player in England convicted of racial abuse during a game.

Terry also repeatedly defended his character during disciplinary interviews last October with the English Football Association, which were heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today.

“I have been called a lot of things in my career and off the pitch but being racist is not one I am prepared to take at all,” he said before being charged with a racially aggravated public order offence.

“I’m not having anyone, let alone Anton, think that about me or anyone else,” he added. “That’s not my character ... I was taken aback by that. I have never been accused of that.”

The court heard for the first time that it was an off-duty police officer who initially complained to police about Terry’s comments, which were posted on YouTube within 30 minutes of the globally televised match ending.

After the prosecution closed its case, Terry’s legal team said there is no “prima facie case” against the player.

Lawyer George Carter-Stephenson said Ferdinand “is not a reliable witness,” claiming his evidence yesterday on the build-up to the confrontation with Terry was “misleading”.

Ferdinand’s reliability “is further damaged,” Carter-Stephenson said, by the fact he identified a YouTube clip of the incident as being from the live TV feed when it was from footage that wasn’t broadcast.

Carter-Stephenson said the video is “interpreted and incomplete”, adding that evidence from lip-reading experts is inconclusive.

“This case should go no further, there is insufficient evidence,” he said.

But prosecutor Duncan Penny said it was “plainly and inherently unlikely” Terry would decide to repeat the alleged racist phrase with no surprise or incredulity.

Chief magistrate Howard Riddle rejected an application for the case to be dismissed.

The verdict in the trial, which is expected to last five days, will be decided by Riddle instead of a jury.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.