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York City’s Clarke Carlisle defends players’ stance in Kick It Out t-shirt row
9:59am Monday 22nd October 2012 in Sport
PROFESSIONAL Footballers’ Association chairman and Kick It Out ambassador Clarke Carlisle has defended the rights of players who chose not to wear a t-shirt in support of the anti-racism campaign.
The York City defender, who starred in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Dagenham & Redbridge, said punishing the players would be contrary to the organisation’s goals.
Several players, including Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and his brother Anton of QPR, declined to wear the Kick It Out t-shirts while warming up for their respective Barclays Premier League matches, unhappy with what they consider a lack of progress on racism.
Rio Ferdinand’s decision brought strong criticism from manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who promised the player would be “dealt with”.
On Friday, Ferguson had publicly criticised Jason Roberts’ stated intention to snub the t-shirt and promised all of his players would wear them.
While PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor felt the protests were “misguided”, Carlisle said he did not want to see Ferdinand disciplined by United, and promised the PFA would support him in the matter.
“Sir Alex Ferguson is trying to reaffirm his unwavering support of the Kick It Out campaign, and that’s fantastic,” Carlisle said.
“But this should not be seen as player-versus-club or dissension from a player against their employer. This is about a group of players and some wider issues that transcend that relationship.
“We would not want to see Rio Ferdinand punished. As I said of the handshake saga, you cannot coerce any man against his will and to do so would be the complete opposite of what the campaign is for.”