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Irish footballer fined for 'IRA' balaclava 'history lesson' with kids

Irish footballer fined for 'IRA' balaclava 'history lesson' with kids
Irish footballer James McClean has been fined by club team Stoke City and ordered to delete his Instagram account after posting a message in which he was seen wearing a balaclava while giving his children a “history lesson.”

The Derry-born Republic of Ireland star hastily removed the message after posting it, but not before he had come under fire for his home-schooling efforts featuring headwear seen as synonymous with the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Stoke City later said that the midfielder had been fined two weeks’ wages over the post and had agreed to delete his Instagram account.   

"Stoke City can confirm that, following an internal disciplinary review, disciplinary action has been taken against James McClean for an inappropriate social media post,” a statement read.

"McClean has been fined two weeks’ wages by the Club and has also agreed to delete his Instagram account.

"The player has expressed contrition and recognizes that the post was ill advised and offensive.

"He said: 'I never wanted to cause any offence but I now realize that I did so and for that I apologize unreservedly. I have spoken to the Club and will be deleting my Instagram account.'"

McClean, 30, has emerged as a controversial figure in recent years over his stance not to wear a poppy on his shirt during Remembrance Day celebrations in the UK, stating that “it stands for all the conflicts that Britain has been involved in.”

In particular, he has cited the 'Bloody Sunday' massacre in his home city of Derry in Northern Ireland – in which 13 unarmed civilians were killed by British soldiers in 1972 – as being behind his stance.

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That has not stopped McClean receiving significant abuse from fans in the terraces, while the footballer has also received death threats.

McClean has won 65 caps for Ireland, scoring 10 times, and has previously played at West Bromwich Albion, Wigan Athletic and Sunderland.