Derry born footballer, James McClean, was subjected to online abuse at the weekend after continuing to refuse to wear a remembrance poppy.
McClean started for West Bromwich Albion against Manchester United on Saturday and was the only player in the team to wear a jersey without a remembrance poppy. The 26 year-old winger was booed by both sets of supporters throughout the game.
McClean refused to wear a remembrance poppy whilst playing for previous clubs Sunderland and Wigan Athletic.
The former Derry City winger has received death threats in the past over his refusal to wear the poppy.
Sinn Fein MLA for Foyle, Raymond McCartney, used Twitter to show support for McClean’s stance.
“If those who booed James McClean had a small amount of his dignity and respect then they would not waste their breath booing,” said Mr. McCartney.
However, despite receiving a lot of support, others singled McClean out for abuse.
“James McClean is a disrespectful little f****r. I wear my poppy with pride,” tweeted football fan Dave Moody (@davehb2k).
“If you have the same views as James McClean about remembering the fallen then you genuinely are scum,” added Jamie McGill (@JamieMcGill_).
The Republic of Ireland international has refused to wear a remembrance poppy since he started playing professional football in England in 2011.
McClean explained to West Brom fans several weeks ago why he would not be wearing a poppy when he detailed his reasons in an article in the club’s match day programme.
“We are coming up to Remembrance Day and I won’t wear a poppy on my shirt. People say I am being disrespectful but don’t ask why I choose not to wear it.
“If the poppy was simply about World War One and Two victims alone, I’d wear it without a problem,” said McClean.
He added: “I would wear it every day of the year if that was the thing but it doesn’t, it stands for all the conflicts that Britain has been involved in. Because of the history where I come from in Derry, I cannot wear something that represents that.”
Meanwhile, Irish ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ star, Tristan MacManus, was subjected to similar abuse after he decided not to wear a remembrance poppy on the hit BBC entertainment show.
“Fingers crossed u [sic] get booted off 2NITE [sic]. Refusing to wear POPPY on a BRITISH show? U [sic] feel that strongly then WHY work here?” asked @HattieLee42 on Twitter.
Some people felt so incensed at MacManus’ decision not to wear a poppy that they used it to justify trying to vote him and dancing partner, Jamelia, off the show.
MacManus, like McClean, also received some support.
“Good on you for standing up for your right to choose and NOT wearing a poppy! It should be a choice, not mandatory,” tweeted Kate Morgan (@KateMoxon1).