Time to say sorry
The Sunday Supplement panel urged John Terry to apologise so Anton Ferdinand can move on.
Last Updated: 30/09/12 11:00am
John Terry must issue an apology for his remarks to Anton Ferdinand so football can move on from the incident, Jason Burt told The Sunday Supplement.
Terry was handed a four match ban and £220,000 fine this week by an FA panel for racist remarks directed towards Ferdinand last season.
However, Terry continues to plead his innocence and, in the opinion of Sunday Telegraph journalist Burt, no one can move forward until he apologises for the language he used.
"This should be the beginning of the end of this," he said.
"I think it was the right verdict from the FA panel and it was the inevitable verdict, given the rules under which the FA operate. Obviously the panel looked at all the evidence and there was quite clearly a case to answer.
"Now we should draw a line under it, but first two things should happen: Terry should not appeal and Terry should apologise.
"He's admitted using those words so he should apologise for using them. Hopefully that should end the whole matter. Whatever happens now nobody is going to change their opinion on this. People who support John Terry are not going to change their opinion and people who are against him aren't going to change their opinion.
"We need some closure and it's up to John Terry to issue an apology so we can move on from this.
"He's a former England captain, a Chelsea captain and a huge figure in the world of football, so he needs to put out an apology and put an end to the matter.
"I think something has to happen for the Ferdinand family to move on. Anton's a victim in this and he's suffered a lot of abuse because of this as well - and it would help him if Terry issued some sort of apology."
However, Mail on Sunday scribe Rob Draper can't see the Chelsea ace saying sorry any time soon.
"I don't think we're going to get an apology from John Terry," he said.
"It was really important the case was brought in front of the FA. He admitted saying the words and that crossed a line. There's vile abuse going back and forth every week in football but there's a line and racist language - even in the form of a question, as John Terry claims it was - is not acceptable and I think it was important for the FA's credibility to do that.
"However, John Terry has defended himself for more than a year; he's gone to court defending himself and his side of the story. An apology would be an admission he did something wrong and I don't think he sees that he's done something wrong.
"I think we should get an apology - but I don't think we'll get it."
In terms of the punishment handed out to the Blues skipper Matt Law of the Sunday Mirror believes he was fortunate to escape with only a four game ban, after Luis Suarez was handed an eight match suspension last season for a similar offence.
"Suarez got eight games because of the repetition of the word, which apparently proves more intent, according to the panel," he said. "In terms of the Terry case, we're waiting on the written reasons to be absolutely sure, but it seems the word wasn't repeated so it's not as long a ban as Suarez.
"I'm not sure that should cause a disparity. I think Terry should have got eight games rather than four. I don't think it matter whether you say it twice or once."
And Law proposed a system for re-building relationships when similar events occur in the future: "Going forward we need to get people found guilty of these things involved in community programmes," he said.
"It's fine fining them and suspending them but we need to look at the issue of how we educate people so this doesn't happen."