Footballer Ashley Cole said England and Chelsea team mate John Terry should not have been taken to court over racism claims.
Terry, 31, is accused of calling Anton Ferdinand a “f****** black ****” during a Premier League game on October 23 last year.
He denies a racially aggravated public order offence, and claims that he was sarcastically repeating the slur that Ferdinand mistakenly thought he had used.
Yesterday Cole, also 31, told Westminster Magistrates’ Court: “I think we shouldn’t be sitting here.”
He said while racism should never be tolerated, repeating what you thought someone said was “completely different”.
Cole said: “If I repeated something that I thought you said, that’s totally different than if someone just says something.”
The court was read a statement from former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who denied Terry was racist.
Mourinho, who manages Spanish champions Real Madrid, said Terry had an excellent relationship with all the players regardless of ethnicity when he was Chelsea boss between June 2004 and September 2009. Terry also championed the FA’s anti-racism campaigns.
Mourinho said: “I never once witnessed any demonstration of racism or racial abuse or behaviour. I am certain that John Terry is not a racist.”
Several players – including Frank Lampard, Fernando Torres and Petr Cech – had signed copies of a prepared statement that said: “I have never heard John Terry use any form of racist language and have never heard any suggestion that he may have done so.”
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck also praised the defendant’s character.
Earlier, the court heard Cole describe Terry as “a close friend”, who had been his England and Chelsea team mate 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 on the day of the match at Loftus Road, he saw Ferdinand make a gesture to imply sex and could see him saying something.
The trial was adjourned until today.