London – Police are investigating death threats made to Sunderland winger James McClean after the Ireland international declined to wear a poppy to mark Remembrance Sunday.
The threat, posted on a Twitter account that has since been suspended, said McClean “deserves to be shot dead + body dragged past the cenotaph!”.
Northumbria police confirmed that they had begun an investigation into the comments.
“Police are carrying out enquiries following a third party report of threats made on social networking sites,” a statement said. “Officers have spoken to Sunderland AFC. Enquiries are ongoing.”
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill confirmed that McClean had been targeted after his side's 3-1 victory at Fulham on Sunday, during which McClean was booed, apparently because of his failure to wear a poppy logo on his shirt the previous weekend against Everton.
“I think it's probably to do with the issue of last week,” Northern Irishman O'Neill said.
“It's a free choice in this world.”
The 23-year-old McClean played for Northern Ireland under 21s but has since represented Ireland and was part of the recent Euro 2012 squad.
His decision to play for Ireland resulted in him receiving sectarian abuse on social networking sites. – Reuters