This does now seem like an annual occurrence where certain players have made it pretty clear that they don’t want to wear a poppy and have given reasons for doing so, but the media are determined to turn it into a major flash point every year.
The whole idea of the poppy is to remember the brave soldiers who fought for the country in the war, nobody is going to say that’s a bad thing. It must be remembered that there are different viewpoints from parts of Ireland where the poppy has a different meaning.
An Independent article in 2017 gave an overview of a statement from McClean where he gave his reasons for not wanting to wear it. You can read the whole article here, but here’s a few key quotes:
“People say I am being disrespectful but don’t ask why I choose not to wear it. If the poppy was simply about World War One and Two victims alone, I’d wear it without a problem.”
“I would wear it every day of the year if that was the thing but it doesn’t. It stands for all the conflicts that Britain has been involved in. Because of the history where I come from in Derry, I cannot wear something that represents that.”
Now, one of the biggest issues surrounding the poppy has been people trying to “out poppy” each other to show who can be the “biggest rememberer” and it’s used as a tool to try and create controversy or outrage where there isn’t any.
It’s clear that the whole concept of the war and the sacrifice made was to give us a free society, with free speech. Some people on both sides let everyone down, but it’s important to remember that people like McClean have gone on record to show their respect for the servicemen. You may not like how they regard the poppy, but that is everyone’s right in a fair society.
A video has emerged online that was reported by Yahoo.com, which shows some Irish fans chanting “James McClean hates the f*cking Queen”. Now obviously that isn’t okay, but it’s the result of the whole media agenda that has whipped this up.
Idiots will do something if they know it will get attention – this is the perfect example of fans seeing something in the press and knowing it will get them some attention.
It’s also worth saying it’s probably not a bad time to try and get some positive feeling towards the monarchy when you consider a lot of the recent stories in the press about a certain Prince.
Those Irish fans are out of order, but so are the people who feel they can tell people how they should respect things or chastise people for their viewpoints on certain historical events – especially when it’s unlikely they have any real understanding about what happened in Ireland to initiate the feelings towards the poppy.