Stoke City winger deletes Instagram account after apparent IRA joke

Stoke City have disciplined James McClean, who will now delete his Instagram account, after an "ill-advised and offensive" post.

Stoke City winger James McClean was pictured facing his children wearing a balaclava - imagery synonymous with the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Stoke City winger James McClean was pictured facing his children wearing a balaclava - imagery synonymous with the Irish Republican Army (IRA).   -  Getty Images

James McClean has been fined two weeks wages and agreed to delete his Instagram account after an apparent IRA joke, Stoke City has confirmed.

With social distancing measures in place in the United Kingdom amid the coronavirus pandemic, Stoke winger McClean uploaded a controversial post on his Instagram story.

Captioned "Today's school lesson - history", with a laughing emoji, the 30-year-old was pictured facing his children wearing a balaclava - imagery synonymous with the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

A Stoke statement confirmed McClean's punishment and read: "The player has expressed contrition and recognises that the post was ill-advised and offensive."

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McClean added: "I never wanted to cause any offence but I now realise that I did so and for that I apologise unreservedly.

"I have spoken to the club and will be deleting my Instagram account."

The Republic of Ireland international has previously complained of "constant sectarian abuse" in English football and was booed by Stoke supporters last season for refusing to wear a poppy, the traditional symbol of Remembrance Sunday.

McClean has suggested wearing a poppy would represent "a gesture of disrespect for the innocent people who lost their lives in the Troubles - and Bloody Sunday especially".

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