Response to racism in Rugby League

The racist behaviour demonstrated by some at last Wednesday night’s State of Origin is disappointing.


I am not one to sit idly by and ignore such despicable behaviour demonstrated by some flawed individuals in our game, nor those who try to dismiss, justify or euphemise such behaviour.  ARLC management has rightly condemned the behaviour and made it clear that it would assist in having people removed from the ground and banned over such conduct


Rest assured I am enlightened enough to know that such despicable behaviour demonstrated by ‘some’, are not reflective of that of the majority. Notwithstanding we are all diminished by such ignorance and disgusting behaviour. What occurred on Wednesday night in no way reflects the attitudes of a game that has worked hard to create opportunities for Indigenous Australians.


In this circumstance it is far more important to reflect on the courage, resilience and composure of former Indigenous NRL star Joe Williams and the 30 Indigenous children in his company.  The Children had been participating in an outstanding program with the NSW Blues. At a time when he might have justifiably shown frustration and anger, Williams instead modelled great strength, leadership and integrity to walk away.


If the individuals in question here truly love the game of Rugby League, then I challenge them to rise above such ignorance and despicable behaviour and model that strength, integrity and composure modelled by Joe Williams and the Indigenous children in his company.


Racism and racist behaviour has no place in our great game of Rugby League.

2 Responses

  1. As Chair of the ARL Commission I entirely endorse Commissioner Chris Sarra’s comments. The game of rugby league is a game for our indigenous Australians – one not where they are just welcomed but one where they are intrinsically part of its fabric. To treat them shabbily treasts all of us shabbily.
    John Grant
    ARL Commission Chair

  2. Sadly a year later we’ve had a similar instance of racism and racist behaviour in the AFL. Adam Goodes handled the situation well and hit the nail on the head when he said that racism has no place in AFL but the good results were undone by Mcguire’s comments. People like Goodes and Williams set fine examples of how to respond to these occurrences. Repeatedly sport is where Australia’s racism i s blatantly exposed.

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