Aboriginal rugby league player Cody Walker says the Australian national anthem "doesn’t represent myself and my family”.
Aboriginal rugby league star Cody Walker will once again refuse to sing the Australian national anthem, this time during his State of Origin debut match for New South Wales next week in Brisbane.
Walker was one of a number of players who noticeably stayed silent during the pre-match rendition of Advance Australia Fair at the Indigenous All-Stars game in Melbourne earlier this year, saying at the time that, “It just brings back so many memories from what’s happened [in Australia’s past]. It sort of doesn’t represent myself and my family.”
The South Sydney five-eighth, who has been in career-best form this season, said that his stance was entirely personal.
“I’m not pushing my views on anyone, it’s just how me and my family have grown up and how I feel,” Walker told Fairfax. “I’ve already voiced my opinion, and I want to reiterate it’s just my opinion.”
Queensland Origin legend Jonathan Thurston has come out in support of Walker, saying that he is entitled to his opinion.
“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,” says Thurston.
Walker is part of a healthy representation of indigenous Australians in both State of Origin teams, joined by Josh Addo-Carr and Latrell Mitchell in the New South Wales side, while Will Chambers and Dane Gagai line up against them for Queensland.
Game one of the 2019 State of Origin Series kicks off at 10pm next Wednesday night from Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.