17 May 2022

More needs to be done to stop 'witch hunt' against James McClean, says Derry politician

Martina Anderson calls for more support for the local footballer

Investigation into sectarian abuse aimed at Derry's James McClean

James McClean has been regularly abused by fans.

A Derry politician has said more needs to be done to stop the 'witch hunt' against footballer James McClean.

The Creggan man, who plays for Stoke City, was in the news again this week when he criticised the reaction to sectarian abuse he has faced during his career in England.

The Republic of Ireland player spoke out after a number of prominent footballers recently suffered racist abuse.

While condemning the abuse, McClean criticised the football authorities, his Irish team-mates and the media over their response to racist and sectarian abuse he has suffered over the years.

He is regularly abused for his decision not to wear a poppy.

"Does one kind of discrimination hold a higher bearing over another act of discrimination?" McClean wrote this week on his Facebook page.

He has received support from Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Martina Anderson who said more needs to be done to support the local footballer.

“It's very sad that anyone would have to suffer such anti Irish racism in 2020. I offer my support to James, Erin and their young family," she said.

“Racism in any form must be challenged wherever it arises. There is no place for racism in soccer, sport or society. 

“I would appeal to those with influence within the sporting world to support James and his family.

“No person, in any walk of life, should have to suffer racial and sectarian abuse or intimidation.

“It has been the case that James has been the subject of a witch-hunt and there has been a very vile campaign of hate against him across many platforms on social media. It’s totally wrong and shouldn’t be happening. 

"There is a duty on us all to tackle racism and discrimination of any form in our communities and workplaces by challenging negative comments and behaviour.”

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