John Terry apologised on Thursday for using inappropriate language during an on-field confrontation and decided to accept a four-match ban for racial abusing an opponent in an English Premier League game.
The Chelsea defender said he is sorry “to everyone” for repeating a racial slur during an altercation with Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand in a west London derby last October.
The incident brought a suspension and a record $356,000 fine from the English Football Association, and ultimately led to the 31-year-old centre back retiring from international duty with England.
“Although I’m disappointed with the FA judgment, I accept that the language I used, regardless of the context, is not acceptable on the football field or indeed in any walk of life,” Terry said in a statement released through his management company.
“As I stated in the criminal case, with the benefit of hindsight my language was clearly not an appropriate reaction to the situation for someone in my position.”
Terry was cleared in a criminal trial in July of a racially aggravated public order offense, but he was found guilty by English football’s governing body on a lesser burden of proof.
An FA disciplinary panel found Terry’s defence “improbable, implausible and contrived,” but insisted “it is not the FA’s case that Mr Terry is a racist.”
Chelsea, who have stood by Terry throughout the yearlong feud, have not yet reacted to Terry’s statement. The club has a policy of banning fans for life if they are found guilty of racial abuse.
“My response was below the level expected by Chelsea Football Club, and by me, and it will not happen again,” Terry said.
His suspension will start immediately, meaning he will miss Premier League games against Tottenham, Manchester United and Swansea, as well as a League Cup fourth-round match against United.
“Looking forward, I will continue to do my part in assisting the club to remove all types of discriminatory behaviour from football,” Terry said.
“I am extremely grateful for the consistent support of Chelsea FC, the fans and my family.”