I know it sounds harsh, but there is a huge contradiction present in the Rugby League community where so-called fans still seem to have this racist mentality, yet follow our great game full of multiculturalism, talent and pride amongst its athletes.
– 1996. Hazem El-Masri makes his debut as Australia’s first Muslim Rugby League player. Throughout the 2000s, he was subject to a lot of racism through (unrelated, mind you) events such as the Bali Bombings, Salary Cap scandal, Cronulla Riots and yet he remained graceful and tact through these times where he was unfairly chastised in both the fandom of NRL as well as negative press by the media.
– 2010, the year which Timana Tahu withdrew from the State of Origin after reportedly hearing Andrew Johns call Greg Inglis a “Bl*** C***”. Not only had Tahu walked out in protest and spoke publicly of the issue, but Johns was also pressured to resign as the NSW coach.
– 2013, the year when Adam Goodes became more vocal in his addressing of issues of racism in Aussie sport and was met with the “Booing Saga” which followed him in the crowd at his subsequent AFL matches. The year a 13-year old yelled out an insult to him from the crowd and caused a media uproar. Who was forced to retire in 2015 due to having time away from the game to deal with these issues which unfairly pummelled him and overshadowed his career.