James McClean has prompted a disapproving reaction in Ireland to an Instagram photo he posted of himself wearing a paramilitary-style black balaclava.
The post, which was later deleted, showed the Derry-born Stoke City star sat in front of his two children with the words `Todays school lesson – history’ followed by a laughing emoji.
It was presumably an attempt by McClean to be funny by referencing the fact that children were having to be taught at home during the coronavirus lock down.
But it was bound to trample on sensitivities and the media in Ireland have already picked up on it.
McClean had previously curbed his social media postings which had provoked controversy in the past.
And the tide appeared to be turning on his treatment by opposition supporters after the authorities began clamping down on anti-Republican/IRA chants aimed in his direction.
Here is the picture, so judge for yourself whether it was funny, or in poor taste.
Either way, McClean has stoked up a controversy where none was needed and threatened to undo some of the good work and good will he has achieved in recent months.
McClean had been recovering from a knee injury when the coronavirus outbreak halted all football.