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Racism Trial: Cole Says Terry 'Inspirational'
Ashley Cole has told John Terry's racism trial that his Chelsea teammate is a "very inspirational" captain who is "cool, calm and collected when others around him are not".
The player was giving evidence for the defence at Westminster Magistrates' Court, as Terry stands accused of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand.
Terry, 31, allegedly maliciously called the centre-half a "f****** black c***" during a Premier League match at QPR's ground Loftus Road on October 23 last year.
The defendant denies a racially aggravated public order offence. He admits saying the words, but claims he was merely repeating the term in a rhetorical manner to deny what he believed Ferdinand had accused him of.
Cole described Terry as "a close friend", with whom he had played at Chelsea and for England for six or seven years. But he said there was a "conflict" because he is also friends with Ferdinand and his brother Rio.
Cole said Terry would laugh off taunts on the football pitch. "He would probably laugh about it, it's part and parcel of the game and you get used to it."
When asked to describe Terry as a football captain, he said: "He's one of the best, very inspirational."
Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho provided a written character witness statement to the court.
In it, he said Terry had an excellent relationship with all the players regardless of ethnicity when he was at the helm between June 2004 and September 2009.
Mr Mourinho, who manages Spanish champions Real Madrid, said Terry played a leading role in off-field programmes such as championing the FA's anti-racism campaigns and Help For Heroes projects.
He said: "I never once witnessed any demonstration of racism or racial abuse or behaviour. I am certain that John Terry is not a racist."
Defender Cole also said Terry should never have been taken to court over the racism claims. He told the court: "I think we shouldn't be sitting here."
He said that while racism should never be tolerated, repeating what you thought someone said was "completely different".
"If I repeated something that I thought you said, that's totally different than if someone just says something," he said.
He told the court he did not hear what Terry had said during the clash, but that he made out Ferdinand saying the words 'black' and 'c***'.
He added that Terry approached him towards the end of the game and said something along the lines of: "He (Ferdinand) thinks I'm being a racist."
Before giving his evidence, Cole refused the magistrate's request that he stand up in the witness box. Told that most people would rather he stand to give his testimony, Cole replied: "I'd rather sit down."
He provided his testimony after Terry had given more evidence in the morning, having first been called to the stand on Tuesday after his defence team lost their application to have the case dismissed.
Under cross-examination by Duncan Penny, for the Crown, Terry repeatedly rejected the theory he had issued the abuse because he had "lost it" following taunts from Ferdinand.
Mr Penny said: "You lost it and you said 'f****** black c***' because you had had enough of him and he was humiliating you in public."
Terry also said in court he was "keen" to speak to police about the claims.
"I knew there was nothing out there that would show that I had done anything wrong," he said.
"I was keen to go forward with my police statement, my FA statement. If I had anything to hide I wouldn't have done that."
He said he made a statement before seeing any film footage of the incident.
Terry went on to reveal he had tried to call Rio Ferdinand in the aftermath of the incident to discuss the matter.
"I did attempt to call Rio and he wouldn't take my call, I didn't have Anton's number," he said.
The maximum punishment for the offence Terry is charged with is a £2,500 fine.