The defender was banned for four games and fined £220,000 for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand.
"He's not a racist - that's 100 per cent," he told CNN.
"We had a squad where we had 12 African players in the squad. It was a fantastic squad and he always had a great relationship with every one of them.
"But in football it can happen during a match, because football sometimes is more than a game and sometimes you have reactions that don't represent what you are really.
"Probably he had a racist comment or attitude against an opponent. Sometimes in football we do things the wrong way.
"If he had that reaction, he should pay - but please don't say he's a racist. (Didier) Drogba, (Claude) Makelele...all of them will say he's not a racist.
"I never felt it (racism) in my dressing room. And I have always had African players in every one of my teams."