“How do you tell your kids your daddy is hated so much?”
Republic of Ireland international James McClean has opened up about some of the social media abuse he and his family have suffered over the last few years.
Earlier this week, McClean shared screenshots of comments he has recently received online.
Speaking to OTB AM on Wednesday morning, the Stoke City winger shared the latest example sent to his brother Patrick, who plays for Glentoran.
“My brother received a message last night, ‘I’m sorry what I said about you and your brother and your brother’s kids. I don’t want them to burn in a house fire.
“I would much rather James go up in flames on a chair while his kids are tied opposite to him on two separate chairs forced to watch their stinky Fenian rebel b****** of a da burn to the crisp. Maybe that’s better than dying in a house fire.’ And a smiley face,” McClean said
“I’m looking at this and it’s actually sent by a kid and you’re thinking, wow. I’m thinking back to me at that age, that hate shouldn’t be in you.
“Where is he learning that? It’s just social media and society nowadays, it’s a dangerous place.”
James McClean on the abuse he has suffered.
McClean’s wife, Erin McClean, also spoke out this week in a social media post, revealing some of the abuse she and her family have received. The couple have three children.
“How do you tell your kids that your daddy is hated so much? It’s not a nice conversation to have but I’m just going to try and be as honest as I can,” he continued.
“They’re already asking questions about why my daddy gets shouted at during games and booed, and we just tell them that it’s just because daddy is playing against the other team and they don’t want daddy’s team to win but that will only get you so far.”
“I’ve had a lot of messages recently from ex-players, players still playing, and the general public saying that they’re subjected to Irish abuse in the UK on a daily basis, and they don’t speak up.
“This is not just about me but about them as well. No longer are we going to stand by and accept the Irish abuse, we should be proud to be Irish and not be abused for it.
“Things like being called a Paddy, a Fenian, a leprechaun, a pikey, it’s not acceptable and we’re not going to accept it anymore and I want those people to stand up and challenge that.
“I’ve had a lot of support recently, publicly from my teammates at Stoke and Ireland, and that means a lot.
“Maybe the tide is turning and maybe they’re thinking it’s not okay and we are going to take a stand. And if that’s the first step on the road to stopping them, it’s a big step.”
Regarding McClean’s balaclava post last March – which saw the 31-year-old was fined two weeks’ wages – he now regrets what was an “ill-judged” post.
“The balaclava post, that was ill-judged on my part,” McClean added.
“It was supposed to be funny with the balaclava and the caption. It’s one of those things that you think is funny at the time but a few minutes later you’re thinking ‘maybe I didn’t take into consideration the hurt it might cause some people.’
“I tried to remove it but people screenshot everything on social media so once it’s out there, it’s out there.”
You can watch the full interview here.
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