With Remembrance Day in the UK coming up in November, James McClean has taken a preemptive step to avoid further controversy over his refusal to wear a poppy on his shirt.
While McClean was a Sunderland player back in 2012 he took a lot of criticism for his stance, and has since caused further controversy for exercising his beliefs such as refusing to face the flag for 'God Save The Queen' on West Brom's pre-season tour of the United States, but now the Ireland winger wants to once again explain his views to the fans of the club he plays for, and he took to the most recent match-day programme to do so:
If I didn’t stand by principles, if I didn’t have beliefs, I wouldn’t be the person I am and I probably wouldn’t be in the Premier League. Standing up for things is in my character. I was brought up to be honest and stay true to myself.
Coming from where I do, we are proud people, we wear our hearts on our sleeves, that’s who I am, on and off the field. Sometimes it gets me into trouble, but the frustrating thing about that is the way I’m portrayed rather than the truth of it, and so I want to take the chance to make it clear to Albion supporters what I’m about.
We are coming up to Remembrance Day and I won’t wear a poppy on my shirt when those games come around. People say that by not wearing a poppy, I’m being disrespectful but they don’t ask why it is that I choose not to wear it.
If the poppy was simply about World War One and Two victims alone, I would wear it without a problem. I’d wear it every day of the year if that was the thing, but it doesn’t, it stands for all the conflicts that Britain has been involved in.
Of course, many will still complain when they see him without a poppy on his shirt next month, but McClean has taken the time to explain his views, so hopefully he can change the thinking of some fans so we avoid the nasty scenes that followed West Brom's recent fixture with Sunderland.