Irish Catholic footballer James McClean has urged online trolls to educate themselves.
The Derry-born Stoke City midfielder, who plays nationally for the Republic of Ireland, said he receives online death threats and sectarian abuse “day in, day out”, while his wife revealed that the couple’s three children have also been in the firing line.
Speaking to talkSPORT host Jim White, McClean issued a simple message to the trolls: “Go educate yourself on why you hate me.
“You hate me because of what you see in the media, and the media is a powerful entity so people nowadays believe what they read,” he said.
“For the past nine years, every article about me mentions the poppy; whether that is a good article or a bad article, the poppy is mentioned.
“And people believe what they see in the media, and the media has got a lot to answer for and they are never held accountable.
“Educate yourself on why you hate me, rather than what you read about me.”
McClean’s call came as his wife, Erin opened up further on the abuse, telling RTE’s Today with Claire Byrne that the couple’s children are aware of it and have even witnessed it when out in public with their father.
“Over the years, we have been getting [abuse] so constantly that you just get used to it at some point. But I do feel once the kids are involved, and it’s personal…that really takes me aback,” she said.