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Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012

Cole lashes out at critics over role in racism trial

AP

LONDON — England defender Ashley Cole hit back at the Football Association on Friday in a vulgar Twitter post after being criticized for his role in defending John Terry against a racism charge.

News photo
Watch your mouth: Ashley Cole (right) could face punishment over his criticisms of the F.A. AP

In another twist to the yearlong racism case, Cole could face disciplinary action less than two weeks before he is expected to make his 100th England appearance.

Terry, Cole's teammate for England and Chelsea, was banned for four matches by the F.A. for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand. The F.A. judgment released Friday said Terry was found guilty of misconduct in part due to "inconsistencies" in Cole's evidence.

A response posted on Cole's Twitter account said: "Hahahahaa, well done (hashtag) F.A. I lied did I." He then added another hashtag followed by a vulgar expression.

Cole later apologized and deleted the tweet, but only after it was retweeted about 20,000 times.

"I was really upset and tweeted my feelings in the heat of the moment," Cole said in a statement. "I apologize unreservedly for my comment about the F.A."

Cole has backed up Terry's defense that the racial slur was only used to counter an accusation of racism he claimed Ferdinand was leveling at him.

Cole told Terry's criminal trial in July that he believed he heard Ferdinand use the word "black" during the confrontation — something the QPR player denying saying. Terry was cleared of the criminal charges.

But the F.A. commission, which found Terry guilty, said in its written judgment released a week after the verdict that Cole did not mention the word "black" in the initial interview with them after the October match.

Later, though, Chelsea club secretary David Barnard wrote to the F.A.'s disciplinary unit asking for the word "black" to be added into Cole's statement.

The three-man F.A panel dedicated a section of its judgment to "the evolution" of Ashley Cole's evidence."

It said there is "considerable doubt as to whether the request to amend paragraph 4 of Mr. Cole's statement, to include the word 'black,' was based on Mr. Cole's own personal recollections, or as a result of discussions that he had had with Mr. Barnard."

Cole's "issues and inconsistencies" were cited by the F.A. as helping to show "there is plainly more than enough cumulative evidence, both existing and new, to amount to a 'clear and convincing' case."



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