"Anybody would have a breaking point" - James McClean speaks out about social media abuse
"The level of abuse day in and day out for nine years, anybody would have a breaking point."
James McClean has said the level of abuse he receives is "mind-blowing" and the sustained targeting of him and his family over the past nine years has been hugely difficult to cope with.
The Republic of Ireland international and his wife Erin spoke on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 on Wednesday morning about the latest instance of online abuse they'd received.
"The level of abuse day in and day out for nine years, anybody would have a breaking point," James said.
"I would say to those people who say ‘he brings it on himself’, you put yourself in my shoes. You live my life day in and day out and you see the messages I get day in and day out, at some point you’re going to react."
He said the media in the UK had portrayed him as anti-British and people have believed it.
"Without knowing me or without taking time to educate themselves, they see me as that character and it just fuels hate," he said.
Erin said the family had received a threat last week from someone who said they would burn down their family home in England.
Another message was sent to Patrick McClean, a brother of James, threatening to go even further and cause physical bodily harm to Stoke City player.
"The kid, he looks like he is 13 or 14," James told Claire Byrne.
"To have that anger and hatred at that age is mind-blowing. I don’t understand it at that age. I think back to when I was that age.
"To have that amount of hate for someone you don’t know in you, and to carry out [the threat], is baffling."
Erin said things have escalated to the point where James no longer puts his name on things he orders to the house, and instead uses Erin's name.
"Where we live we have security so we're lucky with that," she said.
"But whenever James is ordering anything we try and get it in my name or have it sent to the club and then send it to the house.
"He's been receiving letters the past few years so I do worry.
"It's very easy for someone to follow him home from the club to the house so I'm very wary of that all of the time."
Well done to the family of #JamesMcClean for speaking out about years of horrific abuse they've suffered online.
Social media at its best gives a voice to everyone - at its worst it is toxic and cruel. https://t.co/XGXWXZBm3r
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) February 17, 2021