Indigenous rugby players lead call for boycott of Australia national anthem

A former rugby league star is urging a boycott of the national anthem to raise awareness of the treatment of indigenous Australians. Anthony Mundine, who is of the Bundjalung people of New South Wales, called for sports stars to follow the lead of NFL players who have kneeled during during the US anthem in protest against the treatment of African Americans. He made the call ahead of the Australian Rules and National Rugby League grand finals, the showpiece events at the culmination of the season for the two sports. his stance has been backed by two other former rugby league stars, Larry Corowa and Joe Williams, who also urged indigenous players in the NRL final not to stand for the anthem.

All players aboriginal & non aboriginal should boycott the anthem & start changing Australia’s ignorant mentality. Lets move forward together

Anthony Mundine

The idea was first mooted on Australian pop culture website Junkee and the former rugby league player turned boxer highlighted it by posting on his Facebook page: “Been saying this for years!” He added: “The anthem was written in late 1700s where blackfullas were considered fauna advance .Australia fair as in white not fair as in fair go …“ Meanwhile, Williams told Rugby League Week: "Imagine if a couple of guys did it on grand final day - what a powerful message it would send to white Australia.” Last month’s protests in the U.S. were led by by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and picked up by other black American sports stars.

It would bring all the racism that’s in the closet to the surface - the racism we have to put up with every day. The way we are treated in shops, the way people look at us on the street and the way the government treats us. It’s time it stopped.

Joe Williams