Peter Crouch has explained that James McClean's poppy stance was something that was always respected within the Stoke City dressing room.
Republic of Ireland international and Stoke City player McClean has maintained he will not wear a poppy symbol on his shirt for Remembrance Day. He has done so out of respect to the people who were shot by British soldiers in Derry on Bloody Sunday in 1972.
This is a stance that has resulted in significant abuse from the terraces, something Crouch was conscious of while at the club.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1 today, Crouch explained that while he was happy to wear it he understood McClean's reasons for not doing so.
He took a hell of a lot of stick. That’s his beliefs and I suppose you’ve got to respect that. Being an Englishman myself, obviously, I am happy to wear it and I wear it with pride but people are from different backgrounds.
People are quick to judge and I think you can’t judge someone if you don’t know their situation. James has got his beliefs and I know we always respected it as players in the dressing room.
Last year, the Championship side released a statement backing his position and "right to follow his own convictions."
When asked if the recent stronger line towards racism might mean tolerance for McClean's position, Crouch went on to say certain beliefs should not be tolerated.
"Yeah, perhaps. Like we say, with the racism, I can only go by what I’ve been accustomed to, there has been racism in those countries, Bulgaria being one of them. I saw it at U18 and U21 level.
"It has got to be stamped out, it needs to be addressed. I thought they dealt with it magnificently well.
"Like I say, people have their beliefs. That’s not a belief that should be tolerated at all.
"James McClean’s is an entirely different matter."
Speaking to Balls.ie earlier this year, McClean called on the footballing authorities to take a similarly strong stance against the abuse he receives: "Racism, sectarianism it is all the same. Discrimination."