James McClean has had abusive packages sent to him at Stoke City's training ground, manager Gary Rowett has confirmed. McClean's decision not to wear a Remembrance poppy on his shirt has once again caused ire among a group of English football supporters, with a minority of Stoke fans abusing McClean after last weekend's game.
McClean responded with a post on Instagram in which he called those who abused him "uneducated caveman", and thanked those who supported him. The post, which also quoted Bobby Sands, was deemed offensive by the FA and earned McClean a warning from the governing body.
As the fall-out continues to burble along, Stoke manager Rowett has confirmed to the BBC that abusive packages have been sent to Stoke's training ground.
He's been sent stuff which I've seen," Rowett told the Beeb. "You can understand in a way why he reacts. He's only human".
Rowett also said that Stoke do not condone his criticism of a minority of their own fans, with Rowett saying that it "was a heat of the moment thing that [James] realises he should not have done".
When you have those beliefs you appreciate that it's going to be a big situation at the weekend like that.
We spoke to James about it and I think his response was out of frustration, probably ill-judged.
Certainly, criticising a minority of our fans is not the way to go and we spoke to him about that. We can't condone that but I think when you understand the background to his beliefs and you see that his family have had death threats, you see that his wife and kids have had abuse constantly, you see that he's been sent stuff in the post, which I've seen recently from fans and you can understand, in a way, why he reacts.
We can't condone certain parts of those actions but we can understand some parts of it because the abuse is pretty, pretty bad.