McClean death threats

You may have heard that the Sunderland midfielder James McClean chose not to wear a Remembrance Day Poppy in the match against Everton, and that he was the only player in the League to do so.

You may have also heard that since then he has been on the receiving end of death threats sent to him on Twitter.

Now I strongly disagree with McClean’s decision not to wear a poppy, it represents remembrance for soldiers who have given their lives in defence of their country and should be rightly celebrated and championed each year.

But we shouldn’t force players to wear it. McClean, for whatever reason, decided against wearing the poppy and it should remain his choice. We shouldn’t have forced him to wear one.

A whole host of black players decided not to wear the “Kick It Out” t-shirts a few weeks ago as a protest at the body’s perceived lack of action in dealing with racial abuse in football,  and many were applauded for making a stand.

But since his refusal McClean has found himself the subject of death threats, with one Twitter user even posting a picture of a bullet on his timeline.

McClean is no stranger to threats on his life however, when he opted to play for the Republic of Ireland rather than Northern Ireland he was on the receiving end of sectarian abuse and had to close his Twitter account temporarily.

And even though I disagree with his decision McClean should have been allowed to not wear the poppy, it was his choice and I’m sure he had his reasons. As a boy growing up in Derry I’m sure he was witness to some ill feeling towards British troops.

And even though he made it easy for people to target him he should have been able to make his protest without a backlash from the public.

At the end of the day it was his decision, we may not like it we may not agree with it but it was his choice, and he has every right to make it.

And all the people sending his abusive messages and death threats would do well to remember that.

Robert Lock