James says Indigenous stars reject anthem


‘‘We sat down and talked about it … it’s something that just doesn’t represent us or what we do,’’ James said.

They know where we stand as a team, and as players and as indigenous people.

Ryan James

‘‘It’s genuinely up to the commission now. We can just stand there silently in protest but it’s up to the commission to see what they do.

‘‘They know where we stand as a team, and as players and as Indigenous people. Ultimately it’s their decision and it’s up to them.’’

NSW stars Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Cody Walker during the anthem before Origin I.Credit:AAP

Several Indigenous players, including Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Cody Walker opted not to sing the anthem at major matches during the year, including the State of Origin series.

James, a Bundjalung man from the northern NSW region, said reasons for feeling the anthem was unrepresentative of Indigenous people and culture varied from player to player.

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‘‘You’ve only got to look back to when my mum was born,’’ he said. ‘‘She was born indigenous to this land and she wasn’t even born recognised as a person.

‘‘That’s not that long ago. Mum was born in 1960. We’ve definitely come a long way since then, but some of those words just don’t connect to us as people and we don’t stand for it.’’ AAP



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