DUP politician, Gregory Campbell, has publicly criticised Derry born footballer and Republic of Ireland international, James McClean, for deciding not to wear a remembrance poppy during West Bromwich Albion’s game against Manchester City on Saturday.
Writing on Facebook on Saturday night, Mr. Campbell, referred to McClean as a “Londonderry born footballer” and claimed the West Bromwich Albion winger was “up to his old tricks again”.
The MP for East Londonderry said McClean was “wrong” not to wear a poppy in the past and is still “wrong now”.
“I see the Londonderry born footballer James McClean is up to his old tricks again,” wrote Mr. Campbell.
“Refusing to wear the poppy on his shirt against Manchester City today [Saturday]. This comes after his ‘lambasting’ Kenny Shiels who made a joke about International Football. He just can’t help himself. For those who say he’s entitled to refuse to wear it, yes he is but being entitled to do something wrong doesn’t make it right. He was wrong to do it previously and he’s wrong now.”
Since moving from Derry City to Sunderland in 2011, 27 year-old McClean has never worn a remembrance day poppy.
McClean moved to Wigan Athletic in 2013 where he penned a letter to Latics Chairman, Dave Whelan, explaining his reason for not wearing the poppy.
“For people from the North of Ireland such as myself, and specifically those in Derry, scene of the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, the poppy has come to mean something very different. Please understand, Mr Whelan, that when you come from Creggan like myself or the Bogside, Brandywell or the majority of places in Derry, every person still lives in the shadow of one of the darkest days in Ireland’s history – even if like me you were born nearly 20 years after the event. It is just a part of who we are, ingrained into us from birth,” wrote McClean back in November 2014.
McClean has had to endure some horrific online abuse and has even received death threats because of his decision to not wear the poppy.
Football fans from all over the world showed their support for McClean on Saturday by using the hashtag, #IStandWithMcClean, on both Twitter and Facebook.
For those who say he’s entitled to refuse to wear it, yes he is but being entitled to do something wrong doesn’t make it right. He was wrong to do it previously and he’s wrong nowGregory Campbell - MP for East Londonderry
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