The Glentoran defender has leapt to the defence of the Ireland international who posted a photograph of himself wearing a balaclava while pretending to home-school two of his children with the image captioned ‘Today's school lesson - history’.
McClean later apologised unreservedly for the ‘inappropriate’ post and claimed he ‘never wanted to cause any offence’. The Championship club fined him two weeks’ wages and told him to delete his Instagram account.
However, the Derry man has since been subjected to almost 400 vile messages with some online trolls stating they wished McClean’s kids contracted coronavirus and died and another claiming it would be ‘a geg’ if his wife and kids died in a house fire.
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Former Derry City full-back, Patrick McClean claims nothing justifies the ‘vile’ abuse his family have been subjected to and wants those responsible to be held accountable.
“James can take stick all day but when it comes to the kids, that’s too far,” said McClean. “It’s been eight years of non-stop abuse, day-in, day-out. He’s tried to have a joke and he’s been fined two weeks’ wages and made to delete his account and his kids are now getting death threats.
“I’m defending my brother. I’m defending my family. Those are my nieces and nephew who are being talked about. It’s always bad press he gets but nothing can justify the death threats or the nasty abuse his family and kids get. That’s just not right.
“One of the people who was giving abuse has been messaging me since I put up a post, telling me he’s now getting nasty messages and threats himself and has asked me to please take it down. Imagine getting that for years. He’s asking me to take down his post after a couple of days of it,” he explained.
“One said ‘I hope your kids get coronavirus’ and ‘I hope they die in a house fire’. There has to be something mentally wrong with you to write something like that. To have so much hatred inside you to write that is unbelievable.
“James is one of those people who brushes stuff off but there’s only so much you can take. He can take abuse directed at himself and I’m the same. You don’t mind if someone is hammering you or giving you abuse but when it comes to our kids, you’ve crossed the line.”
Patrick believes there’s an agenda against his brother by some sections of the British press who have portrayed the Ireland star as a ‘terrorist lover’ and IRA supporter because he publicly refuses to wear a poppy on Remembrance Day.
“There’s nothing ever said about all the threats he gets daily, all the nasty mail and cards he gets sent to the house. There’s never a word about that but when James does one thing he has to be sacked or the FA have to throw the book at him.
“James’ only crime is being Irish and being from Derry. He stands up for his beliefs but because of where he’s from and what he stands up for, he’s the worst in the world. They never see what he’s constantly subjected to.”
While Patrick understands the uproar about his brother’s ‘history-lesson’ post, he claims it was intended to be a harmless bit of fun and compared it to West Ham and England midfielder, Declan Rice’s ‘Up the Ra’ tweet last year which was quickly ‘brushed under the carpet’ according to the Derry man.
“If anyone thinks James has actually sat his kids down and taught them about it (The Troubles), they didn’t really get the joke. Look at Declan Rice, when he was playing for Ireland he wrote ‘Up the Ra’ and not a word was said.
“Alan Partridge did a sketch on a tv show recently singing ‘Come out Ye Black and Tans’ and again it’s accepted as a humour. But as soon as James does something, it goes crazy.
“People say James brings it all on himself but it’s all come from James not wanting to wear a poppy. He’s been getting abuse day in, day out for the past eight years. Now and again he lashes out but he’s only human. You can only take so much.”