LONDON — Chelsea captain John Terry took the stand in his racism trial Tuesday to angrily deny he is prejudiced or racially abused an opponent during a Premier League match.
The England defender lost the national team captaincy following accusations he racially abused Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand last October.
Terry told Westminster Magistrates’ Court that he repeated an offensive term to counter what he believed he was being accused of from Ferdinand.
“I thought he was accusing me of calling him a black (expletive),” Terry said. “I was very angry and I was upset.”
However, prosecutor Duncan Penny said it was “plainly and inherently unlikely” Terry would decide to repeat the alleged racist phrase with no surprise or incredulity.
An attempt by the defense to have the case thrown out later failed.
Terry and Ferdinand traded insults during the west London derby, with the QPR player taunting him about allegations his rival had an affair with the former girlfriend of ex-teammate Wayne Bridge.
Terry said he had “heard it all before” and would “just laugh it off.”
“It’s part and parcel of the game, you just get on with the game basically,” he said.
Before Terry entered the witness stand, his words were heard during the morning session from police statements and interviews taken last year.
In a police statement, Terry insisted the language he used was “responsive and not accusatory.”
Defending his character to police, Terry highlighted his work helping to integrate a “multicultural group of players” at Chelsea and his long-standing support for the charity work of black former teammates Marcel Desailly and Didier Drogba.
“My commitment to the projects demonstrates I’m not racist,” Terry told police.
Terry, who was in the dock for a second day, faces a maximum fine of $3,900 if he becomes the first top soccer player in England convicted of racial abuse during a game.