DUP MP Gregory Campbell has acknowledged James McClean’s right not to wear a poppy but criticised the footballer for citing IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands in response to abuse from English football fans at the weekend.
“The James McClean saga rumbles on, and on,” the East Derry MP posted on his social media feed.
“It’s not that difficult to grasp. Yes he has a right not to wear a poppy, but yes people also have a right to criticise him for doing so.”
The DUP MP took umbrage at Mr. McClean’s quotation of the late Mr. Sands’ famous “they have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishman who doesn’t want to be broken.”
Mr. Campbell said: “He turned his back on the National Anthem when playing in the USA. He posed with various Sinn Féin political figures and has made numerous political statements and now has aligned himself with a convicted terrorist, Bobby Sands.”
He concluded: “The most ironic part of this saga is that he criticised some of those who verbally attacked him at the weekend calling them ‘uneducated cavemen’.
“This from a man whose own manager described him as ‘not the sharpest tool in the box’.”