Thursday 20 June 2019

James McClean believes the abuse he receives is not taken seriously in England because he's a white Irishman.

McClean hits out at 'hypocritical' FA

Ireland's James McClean. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland's James McClean. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

James McClean believes the abuse he receives is not taken seriously in England because he's a white Irishman.

The Derryman has stepped up his criticisms of the English FA and equality group 'Kick It Out' group for what he perceives as a soft attitude towards anti-Irish comments that he is subjected to on a regular basis.

McClean was given a warning by the FA earlier this year for calling Middlesbrough fans "uneducated cavemen" after they were filmed hurling insults in his direction after a league game with Stoke.

The 30-year-old subsequently posted pictures online of an abusive birthday card he received through the post.

He says he did that to make a point about what has become the norm - with McClean's stance on not wearing the poppy the primary reason for the anger he generates.

McClean has contrasted his position with the reception that Raheem Sterling has been given by the authorities for speaking out about racism.

"Kick It Out and the FA are a bunch of hypocrites, a bunch of cowards," said McClean.

"Look at the Sterling case. He's been lauded as this kind of hero for speaking out. What he got is nothing compared to what I've got for the past seven or eight years.

"I got a token gesture from Kick It Out after people highlighted it (the birthday card) and went after them. Nothing will ever be done. I'm a white Irishman, to put it bluntly. That's not high on the agenda in England."

McClean is unhappy that he's received no formal contact from the FA about sectarian taunts aimed in his direction.

In a Saturday newspaper interview, he disputed the suggestion that he had brought criticism upon himself because his poppy stance is seen as political - whereas Sterling has simply been attacked because of the colour of his skin.

McClean asserted that the view on the poppy is reflective of his identity.

"Knowing my history, I don't think I have a choice to wear a poppy," he said. "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I don't agree with someone wearing a poppy and being from Derry.

"I'm a principled guy and I'm not going to sell myself out for something I don't believe in."

Irish Independent

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