Rio Ferdinand was fined £45,000 yesterday following a Football Association hearing into a remark he made on Twitter in relation to John Terry's race trial.
The Manchester United defender was found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute after he responded to a fellow social media user mocking Ashley Cole, who had given evidence as part of Terry's defence last month.
Ferdinand used the offensive phrase "choc ice" in a message from his account.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, said he was not surprised by the FA's decision but believes Ferdinand's high profile counted against him.
"I think that was certain to happen," Ferguson said. "They want to put a closed door on this sort of thing. One thing that did surprise me was that other players have been tweeting for ages and never seem to be challenged by the FA. I think his status in the game has caused that."
Ferguson also warned Ferdinand about the risks of using social media. "I don't know why anybody could be bothered with it [Twitter]," he said. "But it is there, and we as a club have given instructions to the players. Although Rio is mature, he has still got to remember that one word can make a difference. You can't take it back. Once it's there it's there."