McClean criticised for not wearing poppy

Published Sunday, 11 November 2012
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Derry-born footballer James McClean has come under fire for his decision not to wear a poppy while playing for his club Sunderland.

McClean criticised for not wearing poppy
James McClean opted not to wear a shirt with a poppy on during Saturday's match. (© Getty)

Members of the team wore special shirts with the remembrance emblem on them for their clash against Everton on Saturday, but the 23-year-old opted to wear his usual kit.

McClean played against his Republic of Ireland teammate Seamus Coleman who sported a poppy during the match on the eve of Remembrance Sunday.

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill, who was born in the village of Kilrea, chose to wear a poppy on his suit after the match, but did not display one on his training kit during it.

McClean has been criticised on social media sites for not wearing a poppy but a club spokesman said it was the player's personal choice not to wear the shirt on Saturday.

A Sunderland statement said: "As a club, SAFC wholeheartedly supports the Remembrance commemorations. It was James' personal choice not to wear a shirt on this occasion."

The right of people not to feel intimidated into wearing a poppy must be recognised. That includes professional footballers. James McClean’s personal choice in this regard should be respected.

Raymond McCartney

Raymond McCartney, Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle, said no disrespect should be read into McClean's decision.

"No person, in any walk of life, should be forced to wear any symbol," he said.

"It appears that James McClean is now the subject of a witch hunt on social media for his choice not to wear a poppy on his shirt when playing for Sunderland."

McClean has been a controversial tweeter, deleting his account in September following a tirade about being left on the bench by Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni against Kazakhstan.

He also received death threats on the social media site after he was called up to the Republic of Ireland Euro 2012 squad. The Derry man's decision to play for the Republic despite being capped seven times for Northern Ireland at Under-21s level, caused anger among NI fans.

The winger was urged to stay off Twitter by Sunderland chiefs but despite deleting controversial tweets, and at times his account, he remains on the social networking site.

© UTV News
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63 Comments
Frosty in Here wrote (617 days ago):
@Padraig in Dungannon, sorry to hear you've been a prisoner in your own home for over 800 years. Did you never try to escape to freedom over the border?
sean.d in belfast wrote (618 days ago):
we get this rubbish every year ,every flipping year..wear it if you need to and leave everyone alone who doesn't.Its as simple as that.
Einstein in Belfast wrote (618 days ago):
i appreciate that wearing the Poppy has significance for many people from a British/Unionist background here. Very good. I don't think anyone wearing a Poppy is a bigot. Nor do i think anyone declining to wear one is a bigot, either. Those who attempt to FORCE others to wear any symbol, no matter what kind, i do call a bigot, however. James McClean didn't say anything, he simply declined to wear a poppy (that is his own, personal, inalienable right - surely?). I watched the match myself on TV & didn't even notice the difference(did you?). I wonder just how many of us noticed the difference - before it was pointed out for us by someone else eg Colin Murray, Gregory Campbell? Unless we are all to be compelled, forced...coerced? (And who is to do the forcing, exactly?). Would you like to be forced to wear the Shamrock, Easter Lily? (I think we all know the answer to that). No, I wouldn't & i wouldn't blame you either!A couple of years ago, Channel 4 Newsman Jon Snow spoke of Poppy Facism (are you saying HE is a bigot TOO?). I understood that is why Britain fought 2 World Wars - for the protection of Democracy & in the pursuance of Free Speech - is that not so? At least that is what we are all told.....
Caoimhin in Cuil Rathain....Doire wrote (618 days ago):
to Big John Knox...I quote you...'and our beloved wee country of Northern Ireland,' it's NOT a country you big edjit...it's a region. And remind me how the song goes...'It was worn at DERRY, Aughrim, Enniskillen and the Boyne.'.....The Seige Of Derry....but there's no excuse for ignorance
conair in belfast wrote (618 days ago):
It seems that the right wing and your edl/bnp/nf types have have hijacked the poppy and its no wonder that loyalists have joined the fray seeing they are all part of the same thought process, given that we are told that people died in both wars for our freedom and democracy i wonder where the freedom to choose went to? Going by today's press young James has received countless threats (again) on social media sites by neanderthals that don,t understand the irony of it.
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