Chelsea captain John Terry shouted racial abuse at Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand during an Oct. 23 Premier League soccer match, prosecutors said.
Terry called Ferdinand a “f---ing black c---,” prosecutor Duncan Penny told a judge at a trial in London today. Terry’s lawyer said the Chelsea captain only used the epithet after Ferdinand accused him of racial abuse during the match.
“The behavior was intended to be abusive and insulting,” Penny said on the first day of the magistrates court trial. The comment was “demonstrating hostility to Mr. Ferdinand’s membership of a racial group.”
The 31-year-old Terry was charged in December with a racially-aggravated public order offense for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior against Ferdinand, a defender for Queens Park Rangers. Terry was stripped of the captaincy of the England national football team until the case was resolved.
Penny told the judge that Terry’s defense will be that the comments were sarcastic, and not meant to be abusive. Chelsea lost 1-0 to QPR in the game at Loftus Road. Terry said afterward that he had spoken with Ferdinand and that “it was all a misunderstanding.” Chelsea has said it would support Terry.
Ferdinand testified that he didn’t hear Terry make the racial comment during the game and didn’t know about it until his girlfriend showed him the video clip in the players’ lounge after the game.
Ferdinand said Terry asked to speak with him after the game and they both agreed it was just banter. Ferdinand hadn’t seen the video at that point.
He said that if he knew what Terry had said, “he would’ve been very hurt.” Cursing is just banter, but “when someone puts your color into it, it takes it to another level.” Ferdinand testified if he knew what Terry said, “there would’ve been an altercation” after the game.
On cross-examination, Terry lawyer George Carter-Stephenson said Terry used the racial epithet only after Ferdinand accused the Chelsea captain of racially abusing his client during the match.
Ferdinand denied Carter-Stephenson’s suggestion that the two men had resolved their differences enough that they discussed property purchases.
Terry was captain of the England soccer team until Feb. 3, when the Football Association stripped him of the role until the racism charge was resolved. Chelsea won the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in May. England manager Roy Hodgson, who was appointed in May, selected Terry to play in the Euro 2012 Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
Terry has lost the England captaincy once before. Then- England manager Fabio Capello stripped him of the role in February 2010 over allegations of marital infidelity with the ex-girlfriend of former teammate Wayne Bridge. He was then reinstated in March 2011 during Euro 2012 qualifying.
Ferdinand told the court today that the exchange followed the two players barging into each other going for the ball. Terry then sought a penalty from the referee, Ferdinand said.
The men exchanged profanities and then Ferdinand said he gestured at Terry, cursed again, and referenced the affair.
“You shagged your teammate’s missus,” Ferdinand recounted saying to the court.
Terry faces a maximum fine of 2,500 pounds ($3,900) if convicted.
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