Indigenous Rugby League Star Cody Walker Will Not Sing National Anthem At State Of Origin
An Indigenous rugby league star has announced he won't be singing the national anthem before next week's State of Origin match.
Cody Walker will remain silent during 'Advance Australia Affair', as he did during the Indigenous round, because he reckons the song doesn't sit right with him.
Speaking to the Herald, the footy player said: "I'm not pushing my views on anyone, it's just how me and my family have grown up and how I feel. I've already voiced my opinion, and I want to reiterate it's just my opinion.''
The idea is a hot debate already in the US after several sports stars in the NFL chose not to sing 'The Star Spangled Banner' and instead knelt for the anthem in protest.
But while Walker might cop some backlash from fans, he has a supporter in Indigenous star Johnathan Thurston.
He's also told the Herald: "The stand the team took on not singing the national anthem [during the Indigenous All Stars Game in February]...it was like it was just brushed over.
"They did that and there wasn't really any discussion to come out of that, even though it was a stand they took for themselves and their family.
"I thought it was great leadership by the team. Cody Walker came out after the game and said the national anthem doesn't represent him or his family. We made a decision based on that and that was pretty much the end of it. I can't remember anyone from the game coming out and having a further discussion about it."
Queensland coach Mal Meninga backs Walker's right not to sing the anthem, but won't be following in his footsteps.
"We expect them to sing the national anthem, but I'm also in favour of the fact, if it is offensive to Indigenous Australians, let's have a discussion about it.
"We're a multicultural society, so all of Australia should decide on what our anthem should be. The majority of us are third- and fourth-generation Australians now. What does contemporary Australia want? If it's important to people, why not call for a referendum?"
The Herald has launched a massive campaign about recognising Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders.
The newspaper, owned by Fairfax Media, is pushing for a change in the constitution that would recognise these people as the original owners of the land. It wants to see that change happen by the end of this term of parliament.
Featured Image Credit: Channel 9