London - Professional Footballers' Association chairperson Clarke Carlisle admits his organisation made a big mistake by hiring controversial comedian Reginald D Hunter to perform at their high-profile awards ceremony.
Hunter, a black comedian from the United States, stunned an audience made up of leading English Premier League stars and players from the lower leagues as he repeatedly used the word 'nigger' during his performance at the Grosvenor House hotel in Mayfair on Sunday.
Racism in football has become a major issue over the last two years, with Chelsea defender John Terry and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez both receiving bans for racial abuse, although former England captain Terry was cleared of racism in a criminal trial regarding the same incident.
Northampton defender Carlisle is one of a number of players who has campaigned tirelessly to try to eradicate racism from the game, and although he refused to criticise Hunter's act, he admits it was a major error to hire the American for the event, which honoured Tottenham midfielder Gareth Bale for winning both the senior and young player of the year awards.
"I thought we made a huge mistake," Carlisle said on Monday. "I thought with everything that we have gone through over the last few years, using a comedian of his type was a bad error in judgement.
"I was embarrassed sat up there throughout and I want to apologise unreservedly to the footballing community that was present."
Carlisle was also annoyed that Hunter's performance detracted from an evening that was meant to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the organisation, and its decision to honour women footballers for the first time.
"What galls me is that it was a momentous occasion," he said.
"It was our 40th award, Kim Little won the first women's award, a place in history.
"It was the first time that the men's and women's game had unified and instead we are talking about someone who we paid to come in as entertainment, come in and be facetious about something we stand vehemently against so I apologise for that. I was embarrassed."