PATRICK MCCLEAN has hit out at those who have abused his brother James, particularly in the last few days since the Stoke City player posted a controversial photo on Instagram account.
He revealed that a number of online users had been abusing not just James, but his wife and children too.
One apparently said that they hoped McClean's kids get coronavirus, while another hoped the youngsters die in a house fire.
Last week, the Ireland winger posted a photo of himself sitting next to his children while wearing a balaclava, with the caption: 'Today's school lesson - history'.
The post was widely criticised and Stoke City fined the player two weeks' wages and encouraged him to close his Instagram account entirely.
Despite the ill-judged photo, Patrick told the Derry Journal that his outspoken Brother doesn't deserve to have his family getting abused and threatened.
"James can take stick all day long, but when it comes to kids, that's too far," said Patrick, who plays for NIFL Premiership side Gelntoran.
"It's been eight years of non-stop abuse, day-in, day-out. He's tried to have a joke and he's been fined two weeks' wages and made to delete his account and his kids are now getting death threats.
"I’m defending my brother. I’m defending my family. Those are my nieces and nephew who are being talked about. It’s always bad press he gets but nothing can justify the death threats or the nasty abuse his family and kids get. That’s just not right.”
He added: "One [message] said 'I hope your kids get coronavirus' and 'I hope they die in a house fire'. There has to be something mentally wrong with you to write something like that. To have so much hatred inside you to write that is unbelievable.
"James is one of those people who brushes stuff off but there’s only so much you can take. He can take abuse directed at himself and I’m the same. You don’t mind if someone is hammering you or giving you abuse but when it comes to our kids, you’ve crossed the line."