As expected, several English Premier League players decided not to wear anti-racism group Kick it Out’s warm-up shirts in protest over the English Football Association’s handling of the John Terry affair, including Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), Jason Roberts (Reading), Anton Ferdinand, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Nedum Onuoha (all QPR), Sylvain Distin and Victor Anichebe (both Everton).
In an interview with the Guardian, Kick it Out Chairman Lord Ouseley said he understood where the players were coming from, adding that their ire was directed at the FA, not Kick it Out. "[The FA knows] what has to be done,” he said. “We've been knocking on their door for a long, long, long time so they know what their responsibilities are. The absence of their voices during all this has been noticeable."
Meanwhile, amid reports that Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson plans to take internal action against Rio Ferdinand for refusing to wear the T-shirt, the Professional Footballers’ Association has stood up to defend the player’s right to protest. "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.