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Nemanja Matic justifies decision not to wear poppy in 2-1 win over Bournemouth

Ugh. The never ending hoax outrage debate.

If it’s really down to personal choice, to wear a poppy or not, it’s absolutely bobbins that footballers have to explain themselves year after year.

READ MORE: Mourinho admits approach was more defensive last season; aims to change Man Utd’s style

Nemanja Matic was the only Manchester United not to wear a poppy during Saturday’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth in the Premier League, and he has explained his reasons for not doing so…

The decision to wear a poppy or not comes down to each person’s perspective on the matter. Stoke City midfielder James McClean has defended himself over and over, and there’s something refreshing about that.

Matic has followed suit by claiming his refusal to wear a poppy is down to how it reminds him of when his village was bombed prior to his teenage years.

The bombing he is referring to occurred in 1999 and it was part of an attempt to drive out Serbian forces from Kosovo.

Matic, 30, issued a statement on Instagram in which he notes respect for people who wear poppies.

In his statement, Matic said: “I recognise fully why people wear poppies, I totally respect everyone’s right to do so and I have total sympathy for anyone who has lost loved ones due to conflict.

“However, for me it is only a reminder of an attack that I felt personally as a young, frightened 12-year old boy living in Vrelo, as my country was devastated by the bombing of Serbia in 1999.

“Whilst I have done so previously, on reflection I now don’t feel it is right for me to wear the poppy on my shirt.

“I do not want to undermine the poppy as a symbol of pride within Britain or offend anyone, however, we are all a product of our own upbringing and this is a personal choice for the reasons outlined.

“I hope everyone understands my reasons now that I have explained them and I can concentrate on helping the team in the games that lie ahead.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I recognise fully why people wear poppies, I totally respect everyone’s right to do so and I have total sympathy for anyone who has lost loved ones due to conflict. However, for me it is only a reminder of an attack that I felt personally as a young, frightened 12-year old boy living in Vrelo, as my country was devastated by the bombing of Serbia in 1999. Whilst I have done so previously, on reflection I now don’t feel it is right for me to wear the poppy on my shirt. I do not want to undermine the poppy as a symbol of pride within Britain or offend anyone, however, we are all a product of our own upbringing and this is a personal choice for the reasons outlined. I hope everyone understands my reasons now that I have explained them and I can concentrate on helping the team in the games that lie ahead.

A post shared by Nemanja Matic (@nemanjamatic) on

Footage emerged online over the weekend showing McClean abused by his own fans for refusing to wear the poppy.

The Republic of Ireland international hit out at those supporters, describing them as “uneducated cavemen” via Instagram.

The FA and Stoke have since opened an investigation into McClean’s social media post, as per sportsjoe.ie, prompting another response from the player on Instagram.

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