THE man accused of making a monkey chant at a Sunderland football match today insisted: “I was doing a chicken dance.”
Liam Jones was arrested after the Echo printed a photograph of the Sunderland fan apparently making a monkey gesture at Romelu Lukaku when the Belgian striker scored for West Bromwich Albion at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
However, the 21-year-old, of Hendon, Sunderland, today told the Echo he was actually doing an impression of a chicken, not a monkey.
A complaint was lodged with Northumbria Police after a supporter in the North Stand was spotted carrying out the alleged abuse when Lukaku scored his team’s third goal in a 4-2 win for the Baggies.
Unemployed Liam said: “People have got it all wrong. I wasn’t doing a monkey chant. I was doing a chicken dance.
“I’m devastated people think I’m racist. I have black friends and black cousins.
“If I was racist, I wouldn’t pay to watch Sunderland because they have black players.”
Liam said he has been released on police bail until January after being arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated intentional harassment.
Sunderland bosses have banned him from matches until the outcome of any court case.
Liam added: “I’m absolutely gutted I can’t go to matches. I’ve been going for years. I can see where the club is coming from and I can see how the photo looks, but I want everyone to know that I am not racist.”
A spokesman for SAFC said: “Sunderland AFC cannot comment whilst a police investigation is being conducted, the person involved, in line with our club policy, is banned from the Stadium of Light until the result of the investigation is known.”
Police have confirmed that a 21-year-old man has been released on police bail until January after being arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated intentional harassment.