James McClean has received nearly 400 abusive messages in the days since he posted an image to Instagram of himself sitting in front of his children wearing a balaclava. The image was captioned 'Today's school lesson - history'.
The post was swiftly deleted, as was his Instagram account, and McClean apologised. His club, Stoke City, subsequently fined him two weeks' wages.
According to the Ireland international's brother Patrick, who plays for Glentoran, some of the messages sent his sibling's way mentioned James's children.
"James can take stick all day but when it comes to the kids, that’s too far," McClean told The Derry Journal.
"It’s been eight years of non-stop abuse, day-in, day-out. He’s tried to have a joke and he’s been fined two weeks’ wages and made to delete his account and his kids are now getting death threats."
McClean elaborated further regarding one specific message.
One said 'I hope your kids get coronavirus' and 'I hope they die in a house fire'. There has to be something mentally wrong with you to write something like that. To have so much hatred inside you to write that is unbelievable.
He added that anyone who believes the Stoke winger actually conducted a history lesson about The Troubles, "didn’t really get the joke".
"Look at Declan Rice, when he was playing for Ireland he wrote ‘Up the Ra’ and not a word was said.
"Alan Partridge did a sketch on a tv show recently singing 'Come out Ye Black and Tans' and again it’s accepted as a humour. But as soon as James does something, it goes crazy."
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