Irish football star James McClean has written a scathing attack on the English FA after they launched an investigation into his conduct.
He has questioned why no investigation has been launched into the abuse he receives from the crowds – especially at this time of year.
McClean said that if a black or Muslim player was receiving similar abuse, the FA would make sure something was done, but they turn a blind eye in his case because he is an Irish Catholic.
The issues revolve around McClean’s decision to not wear a poppy on his shirt for matches in November.
Every year people around Britain wear a poppy to pay respects to soldiers who have served during times of conflict.
Football clubs around the country add the poppy to their shirts to take part in the practice.
While the majority of players take to the field in the shirts, McClean has always refused to do so due to the British Army’s role in the Troubles and in particular Bloody Sunday in 1972.
He was born in Derry and raised on the city’s Creggan estate. Six of the people killed by the British on Bloody Sunday were from the estate.
With the atrocity being so close to home for McClean he feels he cannot wear a symbol to honour the soldiers that took part.
In the past he has said that he would have no problem wearing a poppy if it was to honour British soldiers who fought in the First and Second World Wars.
However, given that the poppy is worn to honour soldiers from all British conflicts, he cannot wear one due to what happened on his estate in Derry.
McClean has played for four different clubs in England and each of his managers have understood and respected his decision to not wear the poppy.
However, this understanding from professionals within the game has not always transferred to the fans in the stadium or on social media.
Every year McClean is abused when he steps on the pitch in his regular poppy-free shirt and receives death threats online from fans who feel he is being disrespectful.
He has often patiently and respectfully explained his reasons and while many English fans respect his point of view, there are plenty who just don’t want to know.
This weekend McClean received abuse from the stands from his own fans and he finally lost his cool.
He posted on his social media page to thank the fans who gave him support but also hit out at people who he described as ‘uneducated cavemen’ who continued to abuse him.
He said: “To the section of uneducated cavemen in the left-hand corner of the Boothen End stand that want to sing their anti-Irish song each game and call me a Fenian this and that… I am a PROUD FENIAN no [email protected]#t will ever change that, so sing away.”
The FA launched an investigation into the post and issued McClean with a warning – much to his anger.
In a new Instagram post, McClean didn’t hold back and accused the FA of turning a blind eye to the abuse he suffers in a way they would never dream of towards other players.
He said: “The FA are investigating me after Saturday’s event – for what, exactly?
“Yet week in, week out for the past seven years, I get constant sectarian abuse, death threats, objects being thrown, chanting which is heard loud and clear every week which my family, wife and kids have to listen to, they turn a blind eye and not a single word or condemnation of any sort.
“Huddersfield away last year while playing (for) West Brom where there was an incident with their fans which was on the game highlights where the cameras clearly caught it, yet the FA when complaint was made to them, said there ‘was not enough evidence’.
“If it was a person’s skin colour or if it was anti-Muslim, someone’s gender, there would be an uproar and it would be taken in a completely different way and dealt with in a different manner.
“But like in Neil Lennon’s case in Scotland, because we are Irish Catholics, they turn a blind eye and nothing is ever said and done.”
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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling