08/17/2012 10:12 EDT | Updated 10/17/2012 05:12 EDT

United defender Rio Ferdinand guilty of improper conduct, fined $71,000 over 'choc ice' tweet

LONDON - Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has been fined 45,000 pounds ($71,000) by the English Football Association after being found guilty of improper conduct over a Twitter comment about Chelsea rival Ashley Cole.

An independent commission found Friday that Ferdinand was guilty of referencing ethic origin and race when he re-tweeted a user's comment that referred to Cole as a "choc ice," a slang term perceived as meaning black on the outside and white on the inside.

Ferdinand argued the term instead means someone who is being fake.

The comments, posted on July 14, came after Cole gave evidence in court defending Chelsea teammate John Terry who was on trial for allegedly racially abusing Ferdinand's younger brother, Anton, in a match last year. Terry was found not guilty.