Stoke City winger James McClean has hit out at the English Football Association, labelling them "a bunch of cowards" for their apparent failure to deal with the racism he receives.
McClean, an Irishman, has received anti-Irish abuse during his career in England but feels that it is not treated the same way as other incidents of racism by the authorities.
Earlier this year, the 30-year-old shared a birthday card on social media that he received containing racist abuse due to his stance of not wearing a poppy, with there having been seemingly little action taken.
He points to what he perceives as contrasting recognition that Sterling has earned for the way he has tackled the racism he's received and called the football authorities in England "hypocrites" and "cowards" as a result.
"The only reason I highlighted it [the birthday card abuse that he shared on Instagram] and the only reason I put it up was to prove a point and I think proved it right. It’s that Kick It Out and the FA are a bunch of hypocrites, a bunch of cowards," McClean said, as quoted by the Irish Examiner.
"Look at the Sterling case, previously. He’s been lauded as this kind of hero for speaking out. Getting awards and this and that. What he got is nothing compared to what I’ve got for the past seven or eight years.
"And there hasn’t been a peep, a single word or contact. I got a token gesture from Kick It Out after people highlighted it and went after them. Nothing will ever be done. I’m a white Irishman, to put it bluntly. That’s not high on the agenda in England.
"It’s just a fact of proving a point that they are a bunch of hypocrites and a bunch of cowards.
"They [the FA] never contacted me for starters. Do you watch Sky Sports News? Have you ever seen a story about me being discriminated against? There wasn’t a peep about the birthday card. So, just be consistent."
McClean was given a written warning by the FA after his goal celebration in a game for West Brom in 2015 where he appeared to taunt Sunderland supporters. On that decision, he added: "The same thing happened this year, with the Middlesbrough game where I clearly got abused.
"People were trying to come on the pitch and I called them uneducated cavemen, which they were. I’m getting a warning from the FA. It’s only when I fire back at the FA publicly that they kind of back off and just give me a warning rather than taking any action.
"But sure, that’s what it is." Asked if he thought Sterling would be reprimanded if he called supporters "uneducated cavemen", McClean continued: "No, he’d probably have got another award."