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CNN Have Brought The Story Of James McClean's Poppy Stance To A Global Audience

CNN Have Brought The Story Of James McClean's Poppy Stance To A Global Audience
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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The conversation around James McClean's stance on wearing a poppy has been done to death at the this stage.

The Derry man has explained his reasons for doing so on countless occasion, believing that he could not wear an emblem that celebrates the British army considering the atrocities that they committed in his home town. It is a completely fair stance and one that should be respected.

Of course, that has not been the case.

A sizeable and vocal section of football supporters in England have been targeting McClean for well over a decade due to his beliefs on this matter. Be it during poppy season or not, he is regularly booed and has vile chants directed at him during away games. Things have even gone much further, with the footballer and his family receiving death threats.

Dinosaur opinions such as the one recently spouted by Graeme Souness also don't help.

It is a disgraceful situation to be dealing with in 2022, one the English footballing authorities say they are attempting to rectify. The evidence would suggest otherwise.

CNN bring James McClean story to a global audience

Many cannot understand the refusal of James McClean to wear a poppy, claiming it is simply a mark of respect for those who have died fighting in World War I and World War II.

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This is not the case, with the use of the symbol becoming increasingly political in recent times. The undertones present in such a movement are obvious.

Now, the story has been brought to a global audience.

CNN have published an in-depth piece which chronicles James McClean's struggles in relation to this issue over the last decade, as well as a look at the origins and current use of the poppy as a political symbol.

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McClean is one such dissenting voice.

The 33-year-old footballer has carved out a solid – if unspectacular – career in English football, plying his trade for various clubs in the top three divisions.

He was born and raised in Derry, a small town in Northern Ireland bordering the Republic...

“Bloody Sunday” – when British soldiers shot and killed 14 unarmed nationalist protesters in Derry in January 1972 – was a flashpoint in the conflict. Some 38 years after, a 2010 British government inquiry found that the shooting was unjustified, and then-Prime Minister David Cameron offered an apology to the victims in parliament.

Six of those who were killed on Bloody Sunday hailed from the Creggan Estate in Derry where McClean grew up.

McClean publicly remembers Bloody Sunday and has posted on his social media accounts in commemoration of those victims and the day "innocence died"...

As expected, McClean – as the only player not wearing a poppy – was routinely booed during his Wigan’s side’s trip to Swansea last weekend.

This is despite McClean stating that, if the poppy was simply a reminder of those lost in the two World Wars, he would happily wear it. After all, over 50,000 Irish men died across the two conflicts.

The piece also touches on the way British imperialism still casts a shadow in Ireland, including in the reaction to the controversy surrounding the dressing room celebrations of the Women's National Team last month.

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You can read it in full here.

Regardless of how much attention this issue receives in Ireland, the UK, or further abroad, it seems unlikely that the abuse directed towards James McClean will go away any time soon.

It is a horrific situation, one no footballer should face into simply for standing up for entirely fair beliefs.

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Hopefully stories such as this one can shed a bit more light on the situation.

SEE ALSO: Stephen Kenny Justifies His Decision To Travel To Qatar World Cup

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