Alan Pardew has reminded Jay Rodriguez of the seriousness of Gaetan Bong accusing the West Brom striker of an alleged racial slur, warning him it could affect plans he has after he has retired from football.
On Thursday, the Football Association (FA) charged Rodriguez following an incident in the Premier League game between the Baggies and Brighton and Hove Albion on January 13.
Bong lodged a complaint against Rodriguez after the former Southampton man appeared to squeeze his nose and waft a hand at the Cameroon international.
Rodriguez has been charged by the FA for allegedly using "abusive and/or insulting words which included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race" after the incident.
And while the forward maintains his innocence, Pardew acknowledged the situation is of the utmost seriousness and was quick to ensure Rodriguez is aware the outcome could have ramifications for the rest of his professional career, particularly after he hangs up his boots.
"It's obviously not a situation which is ideal for Jay," Pardew told reporters at a news conference on Friday.
"It's an accusation that he denies and as a club we are going to support him through that process. That is what it is at the moment. It's a process that needs to be seen through and therefore our comments on it can affect it to some degree. The less we say the better.
AP: "It's a situation that isn’t ideal for Jay. He denies the allegations and as a club we will support him. He's upset about it. Hopefully he can concentrate on his football and not worry too much about that situation."February 9, 2018
"Jay is obviously upset about it. He has a good mental capacity to deal with things and hopefully he can concentrate on his football when he is here and not worry too much about the situation – although it is a worry. Hopefully he can deal with it. At the moment he is angry, but okay.
"We are in that kind of world at the moment where everybody has to be so careful and even now talking about it I am nervous. Everybody is.
"It's not an ideal situation and until such time as the process is seen through for both players can we get to the bottom of it.
"I spoke to the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association] this morning, I tried to contact Kick It Out this morning, but I have had no reply. We all need to make sure that for the two players that we understand the seriousness of the situation.
"It is not just about us [potentially] losing Jay for five games – it is a little bit more serious than that and his future after the game, whether he wants to be a coach or a manager or he wants to go into business.
"This is a serious accusation so he wants to defend it and that's all I really want to say on it."
Pardew does not doubt Rodriguez's innocence, however.
"Of course [I believe him], because he's adamant to me and has been ever since," Pardew said.
"He hasn't changed his tune or his statement or anything. He's been consistent since he stepped off the pitch."
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