The PFAI along with the Irish and UK branches of Show Racism The Red Card have today issued a statement in support of James McClean following the player's warning from the FA over an 'offensive' post on Instagram, and called on the English and Scottish FAs to investigate all incidents of anti-Irish discrimination.
In response to yet more abuse for his refusal to wear a Remembrance poppy on his shirt, this time from his own fans at Stoke City, McClean took to Instagram to criticise the fans who booed him, calling them "uneducated caveman" in a post that also quoted Bobby Sands. The FA investigated this post and subsequently warned the Irish international over what they termed an 'offensive' post, with McClean reacting to the investigation by asking why there has been no condemnation of the "constant sectarian abuse, death threats, objects being thrown, chanting which is heard loud and clear every week."
He compared his situation to that of Hibs manager Neil Lennon, who was struck by a coin during last weekend's game against Hearts. "You call it sectarianism. I call it racism", said Lennon after the game. "You call it sectarianism here in Scotland, I call it racism. If a black man is abused, you're not just abusing the colour of his skin - you're abusing his culture, heritage, his background. It's the exact same when I get called a Fenian, a pauper, a beggar, a tarrier. These people have a sense of entitlement or a superiority complex, and all I do is stand up for myself".
In response to all of that, the three above bodies have called on the English and Scottish FAs to take these incidents seriously.
This statement is a joint call from Show Racism the Red Card Ireland, Show Racism the Red Card UK and the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland to both the Football Association in England and the Scottish Football Association to have a more robust approach to abuse faced by players like James McClean and managers such as Neil Lennon.
Racism on the basis of colour, nationality, religion or ethnicity is not acceptable and all within the game have a responsibility to respond appropriately.
James McClean has stood in solidarity with team mates who have experienced racism and spoken out. We stand in solidarity with James McClean, Neil Lennon and all those who experience racism.
We call on both the Football Association in England and the Scottish Football Association to investigate all incidents of anti-Irish discrimination.
We also call on both associations to invest funding in anti-racism education to help both supporters and young people understand the dangers and the impact of racism.
The statement is signed by Garrett Mullan (SRTRC Ireland), Stephen Mc Guinness (PFA Ireland) and Ged Grebby & Paul Kearns (SRTRC UK).