Jay Rodriguez has spoken out after an FA charge of racially abusing Brighton defender Gaetan Bong was found "not proven".
Cameroon international Bong claimed he was "100% certain" West Brom striker Rodriguez said to him: "You’re black, you stink."
The alleged incident took place in West Brom’s 2–0 win at The Hawthorns on 13 January.
Rodriguez, who has one England cap, appeared to pinch his nose after they clashed and Bong spoke to the referee Martin Atkinson.
But Rodriguez consistently denied any racism and in an independent hearing at Wembley last week, Rodriguez insisted he had actually said: "Breath f***ing stinks."
Rodriguez avoided a minimum five-match ban, which meant he played and scored the winner at Manchester United on Sunday.
The striker, 28, said: “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.
“It has been difficult to remain silent throughout the FA process but I do wish to express firstly my relief that I have been exonerated and secondly 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 emphasise 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 relieved and pleased that after an exhaustive, thorough and fair process, I am cleared of this stain on my character and reputation.”
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