Rio Ferdinand has insisted he does "not have a feud" with Kick It Out, after the organisation's chairman accused him of treating the the anti-racism campaign as 'a punchbag'.
Lord Herman Ouseley said Ferdinand was selling a "selling a book of trivia" after the QPR defender claimed Kick It Out did not support his brother Anton in court when John Terry faced charges for alleged racist abuse.
Kick It Out had a representative in court every day, unlike Rio who did not attend - contrary to what is implied in one passage in his book, #2sides, published today. However, at the book's Mayfair launch Ferdinand said they were "scared" of seizing the opportunity the case presented arguing their representative, Danny Lynch, should have worn a a Kick it Out T-shirt in court, not a suit.
“If you speak to Joe Bloggs on the street and say, 'Kick it Out, what was the guy's name? What did he look like? Was anyone there?' They would not be able to give you the slightest answer. That was my whole point. It is exposure. Tell people you are involved. They have been waiting for this kind of case, I said 'this is the time, why are you scared? Why turn away from it?'
“I haven't got a feud [with Lord Ouseley]. He can say what he wants. I'm not bothered about what he says. The time came for them to stand up and be heard and be seen and they weren't. I just hope when my kids get older, and something like this happens, we have learned from the situation and deal with it differently.
“I have no personal feud with Kick It Out. I'm just telling it from my personal perspective and my family's perspective. As a footballer growing up in the game I have always backed Kick It Out campaigns, always been one of the first to put my hand up and speak out. This issue happened, a huge issue, all the cameras were on it. I have always been asked to wear a T-shirt to give the organisation exposure. I said to Kick It Out 'you wear a T-shirt when you go into that courtroom, you let people know what this is about, you are here for two footballers in a racism case, you are part of the organisation that should be standing shoulder to shoulder with these guys'. And they didn't.
“My family was there, every day. I wasn't there, I didn't need to be there, I was talking to my brother on the phone every day. I was there for my brother when he needed me, he didn't need me in that court."
Lord Ouseley had said earlier: "It [the criticism] is absolutely pathetic. [Lynch] was representing Kick It Out and we expected him to dress in a correct way and respect the court. He was there to observe in a professional capacity. The support he offered the family was unbelievable and to make a stupid comment about the fact he didn't wear a T-shirt is pathetic. Unfortunately we are the punchbag for some people.“
“If I put someone's nose out of joint that desn't bother me,” added Ferdinand. “I know the effect racism can have on people. My dad is black, my mum is white. That's why I am not scared about speaking out. I'm not pro-black or pro-white, I am speaking about it because I want kids to come into a better place and not experience what we experienced.”Reuse content