West Brom forward Jay Rodriguez has revealed that he's disappointed to have had his name dragged through the mud after being accused of racial abuse by Brighton defender Gaetan Bong.

By 90Min
April 16, 2018

West Brom forward Jay Rodriguez has revealed that he's disappointed to have had his name dragged through the mud after being accused of racial abuse by Brighton defender Gaetan Bong.

The Englishman was reported to the referee by Bong following an altercation during a match between the Baggies and the Seagulls back in January, with the latter accusing him of making a racial slur after he appeared to hold his nose.

Rodriguez has since been cleared of wrongdoing by the FA, who also understand that the defender made the allegation in good faith, but he says he's disappointed in Bong for putting him under such scrutiny before evidence had been presented.

On Monday, the striker took to Twitter to finally address the matter in a lengthy statement.

"It has been a difficult and strained period for me and my family because this allegation brought a serious and damaging slur on my character," he wrote.

"It has been equally difficult to remain silent throughout the FA process, but I do wish to express firstly my relief that I have been exonerated and second my support for the fight against racism in whatever form it is expressed.

"I have maintained my innocence from the moment Gaetan Bong made the allegation. I bear him no ill will, but I was disappointed that he chose to publicly condemn me on the platforms of open media before the evidence had been presented to an independent tribunal.

"Now that I have been cleared, I would like to emphasize so there can be no doubt that I did not utter the words of which I was accused. I did not use any language that alluded to race and I can only repeat my view that Gaetan misheard our exchange during the game.

"I am grateful for all the colleagues and former managers and coaches who spoke up for me at the hearing. I would also like to thank West Bromwich Albion, my team-mates, the staff and the fans for the fantastic support they have offered me during this unpleasant process.

"Finally, I would like to underline my support for the continuing battle of any forms of discrimination. There is no place for it in any walk of life and I am relieved and pleased that after an exhaustive, thorough and fair process, I am cleared of this stain on my character and reputation."

West Brom recorded a win over Manchester United on Sunday, with Rodriguez scoring the solitary goal. But the club remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League standings and could possibly lose the forward in the summer given their inevitable drop to the Championship.

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