James McClean lets Wigan Athletic chairman know reasons for refusing to wear a poppy in a well thought out letter…
Wigan star James McClean refused to wear a poppy on his shirt as part of Remembrance Day commemorations as his side were hosted by Bolton on Friday. He has explained his reasons in a letter to club chairman Dave Whelan however; a letter which has been published on the Latics website, as reported by the Guardian.
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It was a personal decision on the part of the 25-year-old, who following his letter sat down with Whelan to discuss the matter further. The Chairman accepted the midfielder’s reasons for not wearing a poppy, and they both agreed that it was best for the letter to be published in full for the public to see.
The Republic of Ireland midfielder has received abuse and death threats for his refusal to wear one before, so for the fans to see his well reasoned argument is extremely important.
“For people from the North of Ireland such as myself, and specifically those in Derry, scene of the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, the poppy has come to mean something very different,” he wrote.
“Please understand, Mr Whelan, that when you come from Creggan like myself or the Bogside, Brandywell or the majority of places in Derry, every person still lives in the shadow of one of the darkest days in Ireland’s history – even if like me you were born nearly 20 years after the event. It is just a part of who we are, ingrained into us from birth.
“Mr Whelan, for me to wear a poppy would be as much a gesture of disrespect for the innocent people who lost their lives in the Troubles – and Bloody Sunday especially – as I have in the past been accused of disrespecting the victims of WWI and WWII. It would be seen as an act of disrespect to those people; to my people.
“I am not a war monger, or anti-British, or a terrorist or any of the accusations levelled at me in the past. I am a peaceful guy. I believe everyone should live side by side, whatever their religious or political beliefs which I respect and ask for people to respect mine in return. Since last year I am a father and I want my daughter to grow up in a peaceful world, like any parent.
“I am very proud of where I come from and I just cannot do something that I believe is wrong. In life, if you’re a man, you should stand up for what you believe in.
“I know you may not agree with my feelings but I hope very much that you understand my reasons. As the owner of the club I am proud to play for, I believe I owe both you and the club’s supporters this explanation.”
The fans should really respect his choice whatever his reasons, but surely no one will judge him for this.