Rugby player Anthony Mundine calls for Australia to follow US lead and boycott national anthem

'The anthem was written in late-1700s where blackfullas were considered fauna (animals),' says Mundine

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The Independent Online

A former rugby league star has called for Australian players to follow the lead of NFL players in the US and boycott the national anthem in support of the indigenous community in Australia.

Anthony Mundine, 41, who is from the Bundjalung people of the northern coastal areas of New South Wales, made the call ahead of the forthcoming Australian Rules (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) grand finals.

In August, Colin Kaepernick, an NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, staged a protest against racial inequality in the US by choosing to kneel while the national anthem plays. This grabbed headlines worldwide and triggered a national debate about racial injustice, with a number of athletes in the US choosing follow suit.

Mundine, who is now a professional boxer, has expressed his support for the equivalent Australian campaign which has been launched by an Australian pop culture website called Junkee.

“Been saying this for years!” he wrote on Facebook, sharing a campaign video by Junkee. “The anthem was written in late 1700s where blackfullas were considered fauna (animals) advance Australia fair as in white not fair as in fair go…”

“All players aboriginal & non-aboriginal should boycott the anthem & start changing Australia's ignorant mentality... Let's move forward together yo.”

Last week, former Rugby league players Joe Williams and Larry Corowa also urged indigenous players in Sunday’s NRL decider to refuse to stand for the anthem.

The protest in the US has achieved growing steam in recent weeks. Despite this, LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player who is one of the most celebrated athletes in the US, recently announced he would not emulate other athletes and kneel in the anthem

“I think you guys know when I’m passionate about something I’ll speak up on it, so me standing for the national anthem is something I will do, that’s who I am, that’s what I believe in,” he told reporters at the Cavaliers’ media day on Tuesday.

“But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect and don’t agree with what Colin Kaepernick is doing. You have the right to voice your opinion, stand for your opinion, and he’s doing it in the most peaceful way I’ve ever seen someone do something.”

Nevertheless, the father-of-three said he was concerned about the safety and welfare of his children due to the escalating situation of police violence in the US.