Bong demands action against Rodriguez for alleged comment

Jay Rodriguez (left) and Gaetan Bong (right) in action during Saturday's match. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Jay Rodriguez (left) and Gaetan Bong (right) in action during Saturday's match. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Brighton defender Gaetan Bong wants action to be taken against West Brom's Jay Rodriguez after he claimed the Baggies striker was racist towards him during Saturday's match.

However national media reported that Rodriguez vehemently denies any wrongdoing. A source said he was ‘deeply upset’ such an accusation has been made, the Daily Mail reported.

West Brom manager Alan Pardew had said post-match: "There's been an allegation made by the Brighton full-back to the referee and that allegation will go to The FA.

"I haven't seen the incident but knowing Jay Rodriguez, I find it very difficult to understand if I'm honest.

"Jay claims that whatever the allegation is, that it's untrue."

Bong was on French TV channel SFR Sport yesterday and was asked about the incident. The pair clashed in the 59th minute of West Brom's 2-0 win after Rodriguez held his nose and wafted his hand in front of his face in Bong's direction.

Bong was clearly upset with something that went on and immediately spoke to referee Martin Atkinson. He then went to the fourth official, who took notes about the incident.

The Brighton defender said he would not repeat Rodriguez's 'mean and unpronounceable' words. Speaking about the incident, Bong said: "I didn't understand. Everybody was playing. Everybody was focused.

"There was a lot of tension between the players because it was an important game.

"But I'm in front of him. I think he was upset because I blocked him in the last play. After that, he said some words. Some words that I would not repeat on television because this is mean and unpronounceable.

"He said racist comments. And I just can't take it.

"As you can see, I looked for the referee to tell him. I told the referee what Rodriguez said to me.

"First the referee told me to get back in position. I didn't accept that so easily. There are comments that aren't important but as I said to Manu (fellow guest on SFR; Emmanuel Petit), I'm a black man.

"We're in 2018 and we can not tolerate this. I can not tolerate this.

"I talked to the referee. He did a report and I hope there will be some sanctions."

Bong was then asked about Rodriguez's gesture towards him and said: "He did that because of the colour of my skin. Everybody can see this gesture and I asked him to repeat what he said.

"At this moment, I think he realised what he said and he tried to limit the damage.

"And I replied to him 'No. What you said was racist' and I will not tolerate that.

"I signalled the gesture to the referee, this specific gesture to accentuate the comments.

"At the end of the game, he tried to say 'No, I didn't say that' but I said 'You can't say that. Not to a human being'.

' And most of all to a black man. At this period. With everything that happens in the world. With everything that happened for many years.'

"We are on a football pitch. This is already just unbelievable coming from a fan. Sometimes that can happen in the stadium. This is unbelievable. But when a football player said something like that. Someone who earns a lot of money, someone who's here to entertain. This gesture must be banned."

West Brom midfielder James McClean has defended Rodriguez and tweeted yesterday: "When ever a person holds their nose and waves their hand over their mouth that always indicated that your breath stinks, for as long as iv known anyways, to suggest otherwise and put a mans reputation at risk is poor, given the man is one of the nicest blokes you could meet too."

The FA will study Atkinson’s match report before deciding whether to take action.