Ex-United star Quinton Fortune rails against ‘short’ ban on John Terry
FORMER Manchester United midfielder Quinton Fortune says he is not surprised Rio Ferdinand reacted the way he did to John Terry's ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
Fortune points out Ferdinand was suspended for eight months when he missed a drugs test but Terry got just a four-match ban.
The Ferdinand brothers released a statement last night drawing a line under the row, which culminated in them refusing to wear Kick it Out T-shirts at the weekend.
It is expected Rio will shake Ashley Cole's hand on Sunday in the traditional pre-match greeting ahead of Manchester United's Premier League encounter with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
However, it is clear there are issues to address and Fortune, a Red Devils team-mate of Ferdinand between 2002 and 2006, can see an obvious reason why.
Speaking at a Kick it Out event at Old Trafford last night to highlight anti-Jewish issues in football, the former South African international said: "I can see their frustrations.
"We all know the progress that has been made over the last 20 years. But the current players can also see how stuff has been dealt with over the last few months.
"Rio was banned for eight months for missing a drugs test. Luis Suarez got eight games for a racist incident, John Terry four.
"I don't condone missing drugs tests. They are the rules. The punishment is there.
"But when you look at it from the outside, you think something is not right."
Fortune also thinks there is an issue over black representation on panels determining punishments.
Although there are black commission members and the FA is widening its pool of people to make it more ethnically diverse, it is believed the panels in both the Suarez and Terry cases were exclusively white.
While the FA points out that in both instances the players were found guilty and they have already stated an intention to look again at the tariffs, Fortune feels representation is an issue that needs to be looked at.
"I have learned from experience that it takes the people at the top forever to do anything," he said.
"The players know what is going on. The authorities need to speak to black players and get their opinion.
"They are the ones who are going through it. Making their decisions without them is frustrating.
"Clearly it has reached boiling point over the last few weeks.
"They have seen how things have been dealt with. It is not against Kick it Out, it is saying 'enough is enough'."
Fortune experienced plenty of racism during his childhood, but was taught by his parents to ignore it and "be the bigger man".
He now recognises that brought its own problems.
"I used to walk away. But I walked away with anger and frustration, wishing I had done something," he said.
"When I first experienced it, I didn't know how to deal with it. Do I fight, do I scream? I didn't know what to do.
"In Spain, I just ignored it. It wasn't nice but I tried to be professional.
"I was taught by my parents to avoid confrontation. But then you think why didn't I report this stuff."