James McClean says he gets more abuse than any other player but no support

Reuters and Guardian sport on 14 July 2020

Stoke’s James McClean says he has received “more abuse than any other player” during his nine-year spell in England but has had no support from the football authorities, the media or his Republic of Ireland teammates.

The 31-year-old winger’s comments come after Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha and Sheffield United’s David McGoldrick were subjected to racial abuse online over recent days.

McClean has been a target for refusing to wear a poppy on his shirt on Remembrance Day after he cited the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, where British soldiers killed unarmed protesters in his home town of Derry, as the reason for not wearing one.

“Driving back from training while listening to TalkSport discussing the vile racist comments this week made towards Zaha and McGoldrick on social media,” McClean wrote on Facebook. “Listening to their reaction of disgust at it, and rightly so ... because it’s horrendous and nobody should be subjected to that. People need to be held responsible for their words and actions.

“What leaves a sour taste though ... I’ve received more abuse than any other player during my nine years in England ... This isn’t a cry for sympathy, but one to ask the question [of] what is the difference?

“I’ve seen some of my fellow Irish teammates post a black square in support of anti-racism as well as posts condemning the discrimination ... have I ever seen any of them post a public condemnation of the discrimination I get ... that would be a no.

“Does one kind of discrimination hold a higher bearing over another act of discrimination?”

In March McClean was fined two weeks’ wages by Stoke for an Instagram post that showed him wearing a black balaclava while teaching his children what he described as a “history lesson”. He said: “I never wanted to cause any offence but I now realise that I did so and for that I apologise unreservedly.”

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