PFA backs Rio Ferdinand over Kick it Out T-shirt stance
The Professional Footballers Association, one of the bodies which funds anti-racism organisation Kick It Out, insists players are entitled to take their own stance over the matter and efended Rio Ferdinand in the face of possible sanctions from United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ferdinand, whose brother Anton was the subject of racist abuse from Chelsea captain John Terry last year, decided not to wear a Kick it Out T-shirt during the warm-up to United’s match against Stoke on Saturday. Ferguson described Ferdinand’s decision as “embarrassing” and promised to “deal with it”.
PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We will monitor the [United] situation closely and make sure Rio Ferdinand’s rights as a human being, never mind as a footballer, are not undermined in this position.
“Everyone has a right to free speech – just like you can’t coerce anyone into shaking hands, you can’t make somebody wear a T-shirt – although I do personally believe that joining in with the campaign is the best way forward. And then for all these players to get together and put what it is they want down on paper so we, together as a union, can make those changes and move forward.”
The former Burnley player believes communication is key and urged Ferguson to follow the example of Reading boss Brian McDermott in allowing Ferdinand to explain the reasons behind his decision. It was the declaration of Reading striker Jason on Thursday that he would not wear a Kick It Out shirt after becoming frustrated by what he perceived as the group’s lack of action over racism in football which earned him a rebuke from Ferguson.
Carlisle added: “Sir Alex Ferguson is continual in his unwavering support for the Kick It Out campaign, which is commendable, and what we all want to see, but you can’t vilify or coerce any individual for making a stand.”
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