It was down to an Instagram video which got Irish winger James McClean suspended and fined by Stoke City late Thursday night.
A club statement was published stating that the Republic of Ireland international will not play their upcoming league game over an alleged breach of Covid rules.
The club said: “Stoke City can confirm that James McClean has been suspended with immediate effect pending a disciplinary hearing into an alleged breach of COVID-19 regulations, namely training in a private gym.
“As a result of the suspension, McClean will not be available for selection for Saturday’s game against Blackburn Rovers.”
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The Potters CEO, named Tony Scholes, says they hope disciplinary proceedings would be dealt with ‘very quickly.’
When talking carefully in an interview with BBC Radio Stoke, Tony said: “Obviously disappointed, very disappointed, but I’m going to duck that question to a degree because that’s going to be subject to disciplinary,” said Scholes.
“When we found out yesterday that James had visited a private gym – I’ve got to be using the word allegedly in all of these things – it’s clearly a breach of protocol.
“We took the decision to immediately suspend him pending the investigation. We hope we get that done quickly because we’ve had to withdraw James from availability for tomorrow’s game. We hope to deal with that matter very quickly.
“I’ll make a more general comment because I have to be very careful…we all know we live in very difficult times, we’ve all got a duty to act responsibly. Football is continuing at the moment at a time when across the country every other leisure activity has been curtailed. We have to be mindful of that. We appreciate it and we don’t take it for granted.
“People have got a reasonable right to expect all of us to adopt the highest standards of behaviour. That’s a general statement, I’m not making that specifically with response to James. He is suspended pending the investigation. As to what happens thereafter, it depends on the outcome.”
Stoke City have since added that James McClean has been fined a week’s wages following an internal disciplinary process.
James accepts that what he did was wrong and has apologised unreservedly for his actions.
McClean was also fined two weeks’ wages by the club in 2020, agreeing to delete his Instagram account following his controversial balaclava post.
The Ireland international joked that he was giving them a history lesson, with many seeing that as a reference to the IRA.
“If I sat here and said I don’t regret things I’d be lying but I can take a lot of abuse and can’t have fun back?”, he said.
“It was supposed to be light-hearted joke but I can understand why it didn’t go down well. People think I did a history lesson like that but I didn’t actually do it.”
“I’ve received things like ‘I hope your kids get coronavirus and die’ or ‘it would be a laugh if your house burned down with your kids inside’,” he said.
“There was someone online, who looked over 40, abusing my kids.
“Footballers are a free hit. It’s like it’s viewed as we earn this amount of money so we should just take it.”
He posted six separate videos of himself boxing in the ring at the gym with an Instagram user called ‘jcos76’.
This was published on the 27th of December 2020, so it took the Championship outfit a total of 20 days before it was looked into.
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No doubt a backlash from fans after seeing the video clips raised up the issue that it broke lockdown rules.
He remains unavailable for selection for Saturday’s game the club say but will be allowed to return to training on Sunday as the squad prepare for Tuesday’s trip to Rotherham United.
The 31 year old has been a regular in Stoke City’s play-off push this season with the club picking up 35 points from 23 games played so far.
He has made a total of 21 appearances, as well as contributed two goals and two assists to help them challenge for the top end of the Championship table with the club 8th right now.
Now you’ve seen the Instagram video which got James McClean suspended and fined by Stoke City… do you think it’s a correct or harsh punishment?
Let us know your thoughts by commenting below or on our socials!
There was some tweets from fans on what he had done, see what they said…
— Ben Rowley (@benarowley) January 15, 2021
Live footage of the disciplinary panel. pic.twitter.com/Rz9vuHuSp7
— Scott (@scottlley) January 15, 2021
— Jonny Ex (@jonny_ex9) January 15, 2021
Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke pic.twitter.com/23gjk6BsC3
— Jonesy (@jonesy_swans) January 15, 2021
can imagine him at the meeting pic.twitter.com/X1GrjVtQHd
— Frankie ibrox (@SuperFr08887533) January 15, 2021
@holford88: It could of been worse ! He could have been on the piss – at least he’s keeping fit
@Stevie_Mac_11: I love James McClean as an Ireland fan, but #StokeCity were right to suspend him, there’s millions who want to go to gyms etc, he has a gym at home, he trains with the club, madness, he’s a footballer, not a boxer
@gersfan46: Absolute tosser
@forestlad60: TRY HITTING THE CLUB & PLAYER WITH A POINTS DEDUCTION AND HEFTY MATCH SUSPENSION. THEY ALL MIGHT REALISE THEY ARE NOT ABOVE THE RULES
@SnarkyDeBastard: The IRAs favourite footballer in the news again, for all the wrong reasons… Never rains but it pours whenever McLean is involved.
@Gee_McK: #lockdown rules apply to everyone, including footballers, James McClean
@hardyjohn: This is a surprise as he is normally such a thoughtful young man.
@SimonJenkinso10: Did he share his balaclava..??!! It is bloody cold this morning
@TodaysTopTips: He’s a bellend anyway
@greenmachine534: We will all have to support him on this as he will be the victim.
@Cooldaddy999: He has a history of being a really top bloke
Tweets on the Instagram video which got James McClean suspended continued…
@JordanCooper16: So out of character as well
@tashkentterror: Not exactly the biggest surprise if you were picking players who would break the rules.
@Wyn18028668: Most hated man in football
@lyonsy2k: No doubt he will be the victim
@thecaddies7: Bring him home @CelticFC
@Snedders93: Not a surprise this clown has done that
@BWFCLoneStar: Hope this is finally the end of him as a footballer. Awful person
@caggybrodie: Mclean the pricks prick.
@gu5113: Always been a tosser! Openly supports the IRA and refuses to wear a poppy for Armistice day. Rebel without a cause, should be a Rebel without a club!! Celtic will take him!!He fits their narrative!!
@PhotogMatty: why does he need to wear a poppy?
@Craigsshepp: Think Covid wouldn’t go near that thundercunt
@SimeoneEffect: Disgusting. This is a breach on our human rights. The FA should be embarrassed
@realhoundrescue: When are people gonna realise this asshole is more trouble than he’s worth
@sambucaisevil: good scum.of a footballer hope he never plays in England again