It was all going so well. Both Ferdinand brothers had worn Kick It Out t-shirts to restate their support for the organisation's fight against discrimination, while Rio shook hands with Ashley Cole in a move that appeared to signify some form of closure in a matter that has poisoned English football for a year now.
The t-shirt protests and threats of a breakaway union had worked: racism was now very much at the forefront of the debate, with the PFA proposing a new plan to combat discrimination in the game. This was supposed to be the moment when we transitioned from coping with the fallout of a race row to pressing on with the solution. Always vigilant, and putting in place more robust processes for the future, but with actual football becoming the story again.
But then, at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, English football's festering race relations were exposed once again with the serious allegation that referee Mark Clattenburg directed a racial slur at Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel. It is an extraordinary accusation that could have far-reaching consequences.
Early Doors really didn't want to spend another week talking about racism. The depressing subject has already absorbed too much time and forced football into the background all too frequently over the past 12 months. But these latest allegations are extraordinary in their severity.
Details are sketchy - officially Chelsea are accusing Clattenburg of using "inappropriate language" in two incidents - yet it has been reported that Chelsea's players claim to have heard the match official calling Juan Mata a "Spanish t**t" and, much more seriously, use racially charged language in an exchange with John Obi Mikel when booking the midfielder in the second half of the 3-2 defeat to Manchester United.
It is important to note at this stage that as referees are prevented from speaking to the media, Clattenburg has had no right to reply, publicly at least. In a statement, the Professional Game Match Officials Board said it "is aware of the allegations and they are being treated with the utmost seriousness. Mark will co-operate fully and welcomes the opportunity for the facts to be established. No further comment will be made until matter has been properly investigated."
Judgement must be spared until all the facts are known, but on the face of things it seems an incredible accusation. Given he is miked up during the game - even though conversations with his assistants are not taped - Clattenburg or any other referee would have to be an absolute imbecile to make a racial comment in such a setting.
It is one thing a player letting a racial insult escape their mouths in the heat of battle - as the suspended John Terry, sitting in the stands on Sunday, did in his disgraceful exchange with Anton Ferdinand - but the thought that a referee might do something similar is arguably even more troubling.
Where does English football stand if even the moral arbiters on the pitch, the men entrusted to uphold the law, can be accused of discriminatory behaviour? Institutionalised racism in the boardrooms, two of the leagues's biggest stars racially abusing opponents and now allegations that a referee of all people has said something abhorrent. These are dark days indeed.
Evidence that the debate over race has been perverted due to recent events came in the reaction of some, who appeared to be incredulous at the news that Chelsea of all clubs were complaining that a player had been the victim of racial abuse, as though the fact Terry had been guilty himself meant they were in no position to do so. Utter rubbish. Their black players should be afforded the same protection as any others.
That is about as much as there is to say on the matter given how few details we have, save to say that for the good of the game the Football Association must act as swiftly and as vigorously as possible to either clear Clattenburg's name or impose the appropriate punishment.
The last thing English football needs right now is another long, drawn-out race row.
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Sunday was a pretty terrible day all round for the refereeing community. Whether he did or did not say what he has been accused of, Clattenburg was undeniably guilty of some horrid decisions at Stamford Bridge. Fernando Torres's second yellow card for diving when there was clear contact with Jonny Evans was farcical enough, leaving Chelsea down to nine men following a more clear-cut dismissal for Branislav Ivanovic, but Javier Hernandez was clearly offside when scoring the winner.
Given Liverpool had only hours earlier had a perfectly good winner from Luis Suarez against Everton disallowed for offside, it was enough to give the Merseyside-based Sir Alex Ferguson conspiracy theorists a panic attack.
Furthermore, on Saturday Mikel Arteta was miles offside when scoring the only goal of the game for Arsenal against QPR. Three games decided by rudimentary refereeing errors that would have looked embarrassing in a park match, with someone's mate running the line.
But what can we do? Human error has to be accepted as part of the game, even when three or four huge mistakes are made in one solitary weekend. The introduction of video replays for every single incident would kill the momentum of the game and largely deprive us of any refereeing-related controversy. Football would be slowed and sanitised.
Goal-line technology gives an immediate result and its introduction should be welcomed, but a spate of bad decisions shouldn't make us conclude that refereeing is fatally compromised as a profession and that the robots must take over completely. As we know from Hollywood's regular warnings, that never ends well.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I thought [the celebration] was great. I actually quite liked that. It's the sort of thing I might have done if we'd scored at the end. I was going to do it if we'd scored a third." - Everton David Moyes reacts with commendably good humour to Luis Suarez's cheeky dive celebration in front of him after the Uruguayan scored in the Merseyside derby to respond to claims from the Everton boss that he is guilty of simulation.
FOREIGN VIEW: There was yet another milestone in the wonderful career of Lionel Messi on Saturday night as he scored against Rayo Vallecano to notch up his 300th career goal at the age of just 25. "We are delighted for Lionel," coach Tito Vilanova told a news conference. "He has scored a couple of goals but I prefer to remember the moment when he ran 30 metres to help out in defence in the 89th minute. I love the goals, but I like this more."
COMING UP: We speak to Jan Molby about one of the big issues arising from the weekend (there's a few to choose from) while we also publish our Premier League and European Teams of the Weekend. Pitchside Europe fills us in on events in France and there's even a bit of football tonight, as Sheffield United take on Portsmouth in League One.
In the meantime though, why not watch all the weekend's highlights from the Premier League (UK only)?