Ferdinand joins brother in racism campaign boycott
Anton Ferdinand joined older brother Rio in refusing to wear a T-shirt to support an anti-discrimination campaign Sunday, in a perceived protest at the impotence of organizations during recent racism cases in English football.
The younger Ferdinand was at the center of the most high-profile incident in the past year when he was abused by John Terry during a Premier League match last October.
Terry was banned for four matches and fined 220,000 pounds for hurling a racial slur, but many players feel the punishment was too lenient, as with other sanctions related to recent incidents of racism.
Anton Ferdinand was one of a number of players who declined to wear a T-shirt promoting the Kick It Out campaign in the warm-up before Sunday's Premier League match between his Queens Park Rangers team and Everton.
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand did the same before Saturday's match against Stoke, angering manager Alex Ferguson so much that the center back could face disciplinary action.
''It is embarrassing for me,'' said Ferguson, who had told members of the press that Ferdinand would not boycott the campaign. ''He will be dealt with, no doubt about that.''
However, Ferdinand's stance was backed by the chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, which provides funds for the Kick It Out body.
''We will definitely monitor the situation very closely and make sure Rio Ferdinand's rights as a human being, never mind as a footballer, are not undermined in this position,'' PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle said.
''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.''
Kick It Out has been raising awareness for issues such as racism since the 1990s and began its latest annual two-week campaign on Thursday.
However, Reading striker Jason Roberts declared he wouldn't be taking an active part in the campaign and many others followed suit on Saturday, including Rio Ferdinand and the entire squads of Wigan and Swansea ahead of their Premier League match at Liberty Stadium.
It has been widely reported that the players are unhappy not just with Kick It Out but also the FA for a lack of action in combating racism in football.
Some believe the players' refusal to wear T-shirts during warm-up routines actually gives more publicity to the anti-racism campaign.
Police, meanwhile, are investigating allegations of racist abuse by a supporter during the northeast derby between Sunderland and Newcastle at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.