LONDON – John Terry apologized Thursday for using language that was "not acceptable" and decided against appealing his four-match ban for racially abusing an opponent.
The Chelsea defender said he is sorry "to everyone" for hurling the racial slur at Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand last October, an incident that eventually led to his retirement from international soccer and brought a suspension and fine from England's Football Association.
"Although I'm disappointed with the FA judgment, I accept that the language I used, regardless of the context, is not acceptable on the football field or indeed in any walk of life," Terry said in a statement released through his management company.
Terry was cleared in a criminal trial in July of a racially aggravated public order offense, but he was found guilty by English soccer's governing body on a lesser burden of proof and fined a record 220,000 pounds ($356,000).
Chelsea, which stood by Terry from the start, hasn't yet reacted to his statement. The club has a policy of banning fans for life if they are found guilty of racial abuse.
"My response was below the level expected by Chelsea Football Club, and by me, and it will not happen again," Terry said.
His suspension will start immediately, meaning he will miss Premier League games against Tottenham, Manchester United and Swansea, as well as a League Cup fourth-round match against United.
"Looking forward, I will continue to do my part in assisting the club to remove all types of discriminatory behavior from football," Terry said. "I am extremely grateful for the consistent support of Chelsea FC, the fans and my family."