WA Indigenous leaders have given mixed reactions to a plea from boxer and former rugby league star Anthony Mundine for players at this weekend’s AFL and NRL grand finals to boycott the national anthem.
Senior Whadjuk Elder Cedric Jacobs has backed Mundine, who made the request on social media.
Players are being asked to turn their backs or take a knee.
“I think they absolutely should do it,” Rev Jacobs said.
“And I commend them for it. I’ll be sitting down myself.”
But 2015 West Australian and Aboriginal of the year recipient Robert Isaacs said: “Mundine has to wake up”.
“I would urge him to get on a plane, go to the MCG and stand up for Advance Australia Fair, with all his black and white brothers and sisters,” Dr Isaacs said.
Dr Isaacs said such a protest was not in the true spirit of reconciliation.
The idea behind the boycott originated from the website Junkee, but was made popular by the controversial sportsman.
“Been saying this for years,” Mundine wrote on his Facebook page.
“All players Aboriginal & non Aboriginal should boycott the anthem & start changing Australia’s ignorant mentality…lets move forward together yo”.
Former NRL players Larry Corowa and Joe Williams have also supported the boycott, while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called for all Australians to sing the national anthem when watching their chosen grand final.
“AFL and NRL work hard to be inclusive and embrace modern Australia and all of its diversity,” Mr Turnbull told 3AW radio.
“I think everyone should sing and everyone should just be proud about their country, our country, and the fact that we can come together in sport.”