PFA chairman and Kick It Out ambassador Clarke Carlisle believes that players who refused to the wear the group's T-shirts should not be punished for their actions.
A number of players across numerous clubs declined the opportunity to wear the anti-racism organisation's shirts over the weekend in protest at the group's lack of action towards eradicating racism from football.
Sir Alex Ferguson said on Saturday that he would take action against Rio Ferdinand after the defender opted not to wear the shirt, but Carlisle insists that the issue should result in discussion and not punishment.
"Sir Alex Ferguson is trying to reaffirm his unwavering support of the Kick It Out campaign and that's fantastic. But this should not be seen as player versus club or dissension from a player against their employer," said Carlisle. "This is about a group of players and some wider issues that transcend that relationship.
"We would not want to see Rio Ferdinand punished. As I said of the handshake saga, you cannot coerce any man against his will and to do so would be the complete opposite of what the campaign is for.
"[Reading manager] Brian McDermott and [Newcastle manager] Alan Pardew said they had good conversations with their players to understand why [they did not wear the T-shirt] and they respect them in that. Sir Alex Ferguson pointed out in his own interview he did not know why Jason Roberts or any other player would not want to wear the t-shirt, so I hope that conversation takes place in the next couple of days."
Carlisle currently plays for League Two outfit York City.