Stoke City investigate 'religious abuse' after 'pig's head is found in Kenwyne Jones' locker'
Training ground 'prank' backfires and leads to furious reaction from striker
Friday 17 May 2013
Stoke City have begun an investigation into an incident at their training ground in which a pig's head was reportedly left in Kenwyne Jones's locker by Glenn Whelan. Jones is reported to have reacted furiously on discovering the head and smashed the windscreen of Whelan's car in response.
Team officials are expected to speak to Whelan and Jones before Sunday's final match of the season against Southampton. Pictures of the pig's head were posted on a social media site by the club's American player Brek Shea with the accompanying caption: "Locker room banter gone wild."
Jones's partner, Kissa Abdullah, posted a series of angry tweets in response to the incident. She wrote: "It just takes a minute to be sensitive to someone's beliefs no one says u can't have a sense of humour but let it be a joke! This wasn't!" And: "Where I come from that's not anywhere close 2 funny! Esp not knowing religious beliefs."
According to Abdullah the head was hidden wrapped in Jones's clothes in his locker with Whelan, the Republic of Ireland international midfielder, widely reported to have been the culprit.
Stoke released a statement. It read: "The club takes seriously reports of an incident at our training ground this afternoon. A full internal investigation will be carried out and those responsible for any unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with in accordance with the club's disciplinary procedures." Both players face the prospect of disciplinary action once chief executive Tony Scholes has completed his inquiry.
Jones joined Stoke for a club record £8m from Sunderland three years ago. Born in Trinidad, he first came to England in 2004 to play for Southampton. The 28-year-old, who rarely gives interviews, was once asked what the best piece of advice he had received was and answered "put God first". Whelan, a year older than Jones, has been with Stoke since 2008.
Last week Michael Owen had his car covered with eggs and flour ahead of his final home game for the club before he retired, one of a number of practical jokes that have been reported to have littered the final training week of Stoke's season. Owen tweeted that he suspected Whelan was one of those responsible.
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