McClean victim of ‘poppy bullying’ culture — McCartney

Sunderland's James McClean:       Scott Heppell/PA Wire.
Sunderland's James McClean: Scott Heppell/PA Wire.

Derry soccer star James McClean has been the victim of ‘poppy bullying’, a Sinn Fein MLA has said.

Raymond McCartney says the Sunderland winger has been subjected to an online witch hunt since deciding not to wear a poppy during his club’s game on Saturday.

“No person, in any walk of life, should be forced to wear any symbol. That includes the red poppy, symbol of the Royal British Legion. Neither should any disrespect be read into a person’s decision to wear such a symbol,” Mr McCartney says.

“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.

“This ‘poppy bullying’ culture raises its head at this time every year. We have seen attempts to make workplaces compulsory poppy wearing zones.

“The BBC has been guilty of corporate ‘poppy bullying’ by refusing to allow presenters who choose not to wear a poppy at this time of year to appear on screen. This is shameful.

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

What do you think? Is McClean the victim of poppy-bullying?