James McClean says the controversial social media post which saw him fined two weeks’ wages was meant to be a joke in response to his critics.
McClean was ordered to delete his Instagram account by Stoke City after he was pictured sitting above his two children as he wore a balaclava with the caption ‘Today’s School Lesson – History’.
The Republic of Ireland international posted an emoji to suggest he was joking and he has now backed that up in an interview with Sky Sports.
He said: “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?
“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.”
The 30-year-old has had a controversial career, largely due to his views on the wearing of poppies.
However, he also showed a side which should earn universal acclaim as bought around 400 pairs of gloves, 100 face masks, protective visors, 10 hand sanitisers and over 100 gowns to help in the fight against coronavirus.