Rio Ferdinand has defended his response to a tweet which referred to Ashley Cole as a "choc ice", insisting it was not a racist term.
The phrase is commonly understood to mean "black on the outside, white on the inside". However the Manchester United defender said the term was slang for "someone who is being fake".
Ferdinand laughingly reacted on Twitter last night after one person sent a tweet to him accusing Cole, who was a defence witness in the John Terry racism trial, of being a "choc ice".
The person wrote: "Looks like Ashley Cole's going to be their choc ice. Then again he's always been a sell out. Shame on him."
Ferdinand replied: "I hear you fella! Choc ice is classic! hahahahahahha!!"
Users began discussing the comments and reacting to them and Ferdinand wrote: "And if I want to laugh at something someone tweets....I will! Hahahahaha! Now stop getting ya knickers in a twist!"
Ferdinand's initial comment has now been deleted from his Twitter account, but the 33-year-old did speak about the issue this morning.
He tweeted: "What I said yesterday is not a racist term. Its a type of slang/term used by many for someone who is being fake. So there."
Last night's comments reignited the Terry racism row, a day after the Chelsea defender was cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence at Westminster Magistrates' Court.
It was alleged that Terry had maliciously called Rio's brother Anton a "f****** black c***" during a match on October 23 last year.
Cole, 31, had told the trial that Terry, his Stamford Bridge captain and friend, was not racist and last night he moved to calm the situation down and issued a statement through his lawyers.
It said: "Ashley Cole has been made aware of the discussion following comments appearing on Twitter and wishes to make it clear that he and Rio Ferdinand are good friends and Ashley has no intention of making any sort of complaint.
"Ashley appreciates that Tweeting is so quick it often results in off-hand and stray comments."