Rio Ferdinand has called on Liverpool to apologise for their players wearing t-shirts in support of Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan was accused of racially abusing Patrick Evra in 2011.
Ferdinand made the comments after Jamie Carragher apologised to Evra on Monday Night Football for wearing a t-shirt in support of Suarez back when the pair were teammates at Anfield.
Evra’s former teammate Ferdinand has called on Liverpool to also offer an apology.
“Testament to Jamie Carragher for apologising, eight years after the incident,” the former United defender said on BT Sport’s Champions League coverage on Tuesday night.
“But I think it is bigger than Jamie Carragher. It is the club. Liverpool let themselves down that day by wearing t-shirts in support of someone who had been accused of racist language. Eight years on and still the apology hasn’t come from Liverpool.
“It is not a t-shirt that is going to change it, it is education.”
Following a match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in October 2011, Evra accused Suarez of making a racist comment towards him.
An FA panel found the forward guilty of the act and he was given an eight-game suspension, as well as a £40,000 fine. Suarez disputed the decision and maintained his innocence.
A day after the verdict in December 2011, Liverpool players wore t-shirts in support of Suarez during their warm-up for a match against Wigan Athletic. When the two teams met again that season, in February 2012, Suarez refused to shake Evra’s hand ahead of the match.
On Sky Sports show Monday Night Football, Evra was asked about the incident as part of a discussion on racism in football and society.
The former United and France defender said he was disappointed and baffled to see Liverpool players wearing the Suarez t-shirts in support of their teammate.
“When I saw it I was like, this is ridiculous. This is unbelievable. You put your own club in danger when you do those things. You always have to support your player because he is from your team but this was after the ban. If it was before and we were waiting for the sanction, I would understand. What message do you send to the world? Supporting someone being banned because he used some racist words.”
Carragher was Suarez’s teammate at the time and he played in the game between the sides in October 2011. He was also one of the Liverpool players to wear a t-shirt supporting Suarez ahead of the Wigan game. On Monday Night Football, Carragher offered Evra an apology for doing so.
“There is no doubt we made a massive mistake – that was obvious,” he said.
“We got to the ground, had our lunch and then had a team meeting. I don’t know if it was the manager [Kenny Dalglish] or [coach] Steve Clarke – asking one of the players if he was still wearing the shirt, and that is the first I had heard of it.
“I am not lying and saying I wasn’t part of it because as the club we got it wrong, and I was vice-captain. I am not sure who was actually behind it. I don’t think it had anything to do with the manager Kenny; I think it was the players who were close to Luis in the dressing room, who really wanted to support their mate.
“Maybe I have to look at myself now and say I did not have the courage as an individual to say ‘I am not wearing it’,” Carragher continued.
“I don’t think everyone within Liverpool Football Club thought what we were doing was right but I do think as a football club, or you as a family, your first reaction is to support them even if you know that they are wrong, and that is wrong.
“I am not condoning it, but that is the first reaction. Apologies. We got it massively wrong.”
You can watch the full discussion between Evra and Carragher here: