James McClean from Stoke reveals that he faced “more violence than any other player,” and got no support from the football authorities, the media or his teammates from the Republic of Ireland, during his nine-year spell in England.
The 31-year-old winger’s comment came after Wilfried Zaha and David McGoldrick from Crystal Palace and Sheffield United respectively have been exposed online to racist violence in recent days.
McClean was a victim because he refused to wear a poppy on his uniform on Remembrance Day after citing the 1972 Bloody Sunday incident in which British troops killed peaceful demonstrators in Derry’s hometown as a justification for not wearing one (via The Guardian).
“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?”
In March, Stoke fined McClean’s two-week wages for an Instagram post showing him sporting a black balaclava while teaching his children what he called a “history lesson.” “I never wanted to cause any offense but I now realize that I did so and for that, I apologize unreservedly,” he said.