Northern Ireland news

James McClean says he's victim of sectarian death threats

Stoke City's James McClean has claimed he is being discriminated against for being Irish and Catholic
Seamus McKinney

SOCCER star James McClean has claimed he is discriminated against and threatened on a weekly basis because he is an Irish Catholic.

The Republic of Ireland and Stoke footballer, from Derry, was responding to reports that the English FA is investigating comments he made on social media about fans who abused him over his decision not to wear a poppy.

As he left the pitch following Saturday's game, Middlesbrough fans booed and shouted abuse over the Irish star's continued refusal to wear a Remembrance Day poppy.

In a post on social media, McClean (29) quoted IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands and described the fans as “uneducated cavemen singing anti-Irish songs".

Following reports yesterday that the FA was looking into comments, McClean criticised the Association.

In a post on Instagram, he said: “The FA are investigating me after Saturday's game for what exactly?

“Yet week in week out for the past seven years I get constant sectarian abuse, death threats, objects being thrown, changing which is heard loud and clear every week which my family, wife and kids have to listen.

“They turn a blind eye and not a single word of condemnation of any sort.”

He highlighted a game against Huddersfield while he was playing for West Bromwich Albion last year.

McClean said that an incident was “clearly” caught on cameras but when a complaint was made to the FA the Association claimed 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," he said.

He also compared his treatment to that meted out to Hibernians boss Neil Lennon, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, who was the subject of threats in Scotland last week.

“Because we are Irish Catholics, they turn a blind eye and nothing is ever said and done,” McClean said.

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