‘Maybe we are alone’: Jude Bellingham questions whether authorities ‘care’ about racist abuse directed at Black footballers who fight for their lives after beating racist bullies
Wales winger John O’Shea, who faced racist abuse on his Twitter account, is pictured before a friendly against Northern Ireland, in Cardiff, Sunday, June 22, 2014. Wales are in action today to prepare for a Champions League qualifier against Northern Ireland, who they play in Belfast on Sunday. Picture tmsnrt.rs/2Q4KbxV Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/PA WIRE
Loyalist abuse was targeted at John O’Shea in response to his support of the campaign for justice in the death of James O’Brien. His racism could be just as toxic.
In an interview with the BBC, the Wales winger and former Swansea City player talks about being the victim of racist abuse following a game against Northern Ireland, which was followed by a social media campaign which included threats to his life.
“People were pretty ignorant about my background. I wasn’t that popular and it wasn’t a lot of people tweeting me back at me but I just kind of didn’t want to get too involved,” he says.
Mr O’Shea, 25, played for Liverpool and Sunderland before moving to Swansea in 2011 and signing for Cardiff in 2014.
The Swansea story:
O’Shea with his Swansea City team-mates on the training ground before the final against Arsenal in the FA Cup
O’Shea with the Wales squad following their shock 3-0 Premier League defeat to Spain on Wednesday
O’Shea’s father died in January from a heart attack. The tragedy hit him hard.
“He was the best dad, the best everything,” he says. “In the first few days he passed away, I had to call him and tell him he was gone. He had been doing so well. That was pretty tough. I remember talking to him a few times on the phone. He was just great. He was a great, great man.
“I had a bit of difficulty with him. He’s still not right in the best way physically because of the job he was doing and the football he did. At the end of it all, I said to him, ‘Listen I love you and if you can’t handle that then I’m not going to