James McClean Reacts After Fans Aim Abuse At Him For Not Wearing A Poppy
For years now, James McClean has refused to wear a Remembrance Day poppy.
Many have respected his decision since first moving to England with Sunderland in 2011, but some react negatively to his decision and a number of fans let their feelings known on Saturday afternoon.
McClean is from Derry, a place where in 1972, British soldiers shot dead 13 civilian protestors during 'Bloody Sunday'.
The 29-year-old therefore doesn't wear the poppy because it commemorates military personnel who have died in war - and not just soldiers who lost their lives in the first and second world wars.
McClean has explained his decision on a number of occasions in the past, and on Saturday night, the Irish winger chose to address those fans who decided to aim abuse at him after Stoke City's 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough fans chucking things at James McClean as he heads for the tunnel. Stewards dive in to protect him - and Boro fans. McClean looked ready to take them all on. https://t.co/UjUm1EwnEv- Pete Smith (@PeteSmith1983) November 3, 2018
"They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn't want to be broken." Your abuse, your throwing things, your booing, do your worst." he said on Instagram.
"To the home fans that are actually educated and support me, thank yous.. to the section of uneducated cavemen in left hand corner of the boothen end stand that want to song their anti irish song each game and call me a fenian this and that.
"I am a PROUD FENIAN no c**t will ever change that, so sing away."
Here is the full post on Instagram:
Earlier this week, Stoke City released a statement about the issue, and said they respected McClean's decision:
"As a club we will be supporting the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal by wearing the poppy on our home shirt in the fixture against Middlesbrough on 3 November and on our away shirt in the fixture against Nottingham Forest on 10 November.
"The club is proud of its close connections with the armed forces and have also invited members of the armed forces to join our remembrance at the Middlesbrough fixture.
"However, we recognise that the poppy means different things to different individuals and communities and (like the Royal British Legion) do not believe that anybody should be forced or even pressured to wear the poppy against their free will.
"James has informed us that he will not be wearing a Remembrance Day poppy in our next two games. We respect his decision and his right to follow his own convictions."
Thoughts on his decision to not wear a Remembrance Day poppy?
Let us know in the comments below.