What Celtic boss Neil Lennon had to say about social media abuse as he sends James McClean support

Celtic boss Neil Lennon issued a message of support to Republic of Ireland winger James McClean and called on football associations and clubs to do more regarding abuse on social media.
James McClean has been supported by Celtic boss Neil Lennon. Picture: SNSJames McClean has been supported by Celtic boss Neil Lennon. Picture: SNS
James McClean has been supported by Celtic boss Neil Lennon. Picture: SNS

The Stoke City star and his wife have both revealed the extent of the constant abuse they receive on a daily basis across social media.

Much of the abuse around McClean surrounds his decision to not wear a poppy due to his own beliefs.

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It has been severe with threats of burning his house down with “everyone inside it” to threat of someone taking a gun to one of his games.

Celtic boss Lennon has called on social media platforms to do more and for abusers to be “named and shamed”.

'Fed up taking about it’

He said: “I seen on Sky News today, the pressure on football in its own right is starting to put on these social media platforms, it should have been done a long time ago.

"These social media platforms don’t display any accountability or look after the people on the end of this constant abuse, whether it be racial, whether it be sectarian, whether it be personal or whether it be social. It's a real poison in modern day society. It’s more prevalent in football because it is so much more public and out there. It’s disgusting and I’m sick and fed up talking about it now because nothing gets done. It’s about time these people were named, shamed and dealt with by the police or the courts because it is totally unacceptable.

"It’s almost like it alright to do it now. It's almost as if your own personal thoughts can be put out on a public platform. Maybe you’ve had a few drinks, you don’t mean it but it’s out there and you have no regard for the recipient.

"I’m seeing it a lot in English football now, it’s got to come to a head. I’m glad these associations, I’m glad Sky as a public platform are making it really relevant now. It’s been too long. It’s been going on for far too long.”

Looking over your shoulder

Lennon has had his own experiences of severe abuse throughout his career with plenty of it sectarian.

He more than most can understand and empathise with what McClean has been putting up with.

“It would be so difficult for you,” Lennon said.

"This kid has to go out and play professional football. Everyone will go ‘well, he’s well paid for it’. He’s not well paid to take abuse from all and sundry about his background, his religion or his family.

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"You put yourself in his shoes. People threatening to burn his house, threaten his family, constantly on a daily basis. You’d be looking over your shoulder every five minutes.

"I’ve been through it myself and it’s a lonely place. I hope he gets the right support. It's okay people putting out statements saying we are going to support it, do it, show it. Associations, clubs, show it. Not just James, all these kids getting racially abused in England as well. Young lad down at Swansea. It's absolutely scandalous.”