James McClean leaps to defence of West Brom teammate amid racism row

Ireland winger, James McClean has spoken out in defence of his West Brom teammate, Jay Rodriguez who has been accused of racism.
Ireland winger, James McClean has spoken out in defence of his West Brom teammate, Jay Rodriguez who has been accused of racism.

DERRY man, James McClean has leaped to the defence of his West Brom teammate, Jay Rodriguez who has been accused of racism.

The FA are investigating claims from Brighton defender, Gaetan Bong who accused Rodriguez of using derogatory comments following a clash towards the end of West Brom's 2-0 victory at the Hawthorns last Saturday.

Rodriguez was seen holding his nose and wafted his hand in front of his face in Cameroon native, Bong's direction during the altercation with the Brighton defender later telling French television he was subjected to 'racist' abuse.

He told French TV: “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."

Bong has demanded the FA take action having spoken to match referee, Martin Atkinson immediately after the incident but Republic of Ireland winger, McClean took to social media to defend the Baggies striker.

He tweeted: "Whenever a person holds their nose and waves their hand over their mouth that always indicated that your breath stinks, for as long as I've known anyways. To suggest otherwise and put a man's reputation at risk is poor, given the man is one of the nicest blokes you could meet too."

West Bromwich Albion's Jay Rodriguez (left), Brighton & Hove Albion's Lewis Dunk (centre) and Brighton & Hove Albion's Gaetan Bong (right) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at The Hawthorns.

West Bromwich Albion's Jay Rodriguez (left), Brighton & Hove Albion's Lewis Dunk (centre) and Brighton & Hove Albion's Gaetan Bong (right) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at The Hawthorns.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton offered up his views of the incident after his side's defeat at the Hawthorns, with the former Ireland defender suggesting the FA will be asked to look into the allegations.

"There was something said to Gaeten Bong by Jay Rodriguez which has been reported to the referee," Hughton said.

"There was an allegation and something which will then go through the correct channels. I have spoken to the referee and that will go in his report to the FA."

Rodriguez was keen to stress to reporters after the game that he firmly denies using any derogatory words towards Bong.