Players' union boss Gordon Taylor has urged John Terry to accept the Football Association's punishment for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and draw a line under the whole affair.
Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Taylor believes Terry needs to "move on" following the FA's ruling that his defence against claims of racial abuse was "improbable, implausible, contrived".
Terry, 31, was cleared in court in July of racially abusing QPR defender Ferdinand, but found guilty by the governing body's independent commission last month.
The FA released a report on Friday explaining why the Chelsea captain was banned for four games and fined £220,000.
"Things have been said that shouldn't have been said," said Taylor. "We need reconciliation and if you're going to get reconciliation then people need to accept what they have done is wrong.
"Sometimes sorry is the hardest word, but it's a word that is very effective and it means a lot.
"Then we can move on. Without that, things continuing to fester. We need to move on - football has suffered enough, black players have suffered enough."
He added: "It has caused division among black players and among white players. One of our banners is 'racism divides, let football unite' - that's what we need to do."
Taylor also believes football faces a battle to earn the respect of supporters again following the Terry case and the success of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
"The game can't be so arrogant to ignore that there is no divine right to be the major spectator sport or participation sport in the world," he added. "We have got to earn that and at the moment we have got a long way to go to earn that respect."