Nick Farr-Jones says the Wallabies shouldn’t kneel in support of the ‘divisive’ Black Lives Matter movement because ‘Australia doesn’t have issues in relation to race discrimination’.
The Wallabies are considering kneeling before the third Bledisloe Test against the All Blacks this coming weekend, with the team also wearing its new indigenous-designed First Nations jersey.
‘It’s great that sport has an amazing opportunity to have a say and join conversations, a lot of sports have done that and it would be a great thing for us to do,’ Dane Haylett-Petty said on Wednesday about the Wallabies supporting BLM.
The Wallabies would be the first Australian national team to openly support the movement.
But Farr-Jones, a former Wallabies captain and World Cup winner, strongly advised against it because he believes that Australia doesn’t have a ‘major issue’ with racism and that the team would risk losing viewers if they kneeled.
‘To take the risk of basically splitting the support the Wallabies are starting to earn through their gutsy performances in Wellington and Auckland – just don’t do it guys, it’s too risky,’ Farr-Jones explained.
‘You run the risk that a few viewers would just turn off. They don’t want to see politics in national sport. That’s a real risk. I think it could be divisive.
‘I don’t think here in Australia that we have a major issue in relation to discrimination of coloured people.
‘We went to South Africa in ’92 when it was opening up, when apartheid was just about behind it. Of course [Nelson] Mandela was elected the first black president in ’94.
‘We had a minute silence for victims of township violence before we played our Test match in Cape Town but here in Australia I think if you surveyed your listeners, I think 99% would agree that all lives matter. We don’t have that issue. Let’s not make it a political issue in a sporting event.’