Macklemore and the NRL stand together for equality

Mary Konstantopoulos Columnist

By Mary Konstantopoulos, Mary Konstantopoulos is a Roar Expert


250 Have your say

    There are certain moments in your life that you remember forever. Often these are significant events featuring your loved ones or when you are given the opportunity to watch something special unfold before you.

    Sunday night at the NRL Grand Final was one of those moments for me when I watched Macklemore perform ‘Same Love’ to a crowd of over 79,000 people.

    Our country is currently at a turning point in our history. We have been asked by the government to have our say on whether same sex couples should have the opportunity to marry.

    The campaign from both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ side has been heavily politicised and featured in the media. At times I have found the words and the views shared during the campaign hurtful, distressing and uncomfortable.

    When the NRL began negotiating with Macklemore to play at the NRL Grand Final several months ago, our country was not in this position. The NRL simply invited an internationally acclaimed artist to come and perform his major hits.

    But then, once Macklemore was confirmed, our country’s situation changed and an opportunity presented itself for the NRL to stand up for something meaningful and important.

    The easy thing to do may have been to back down or to ignore the issue. But that’s not rugby league.

    Despite pressure from politicians like Tony Abbott and Pauline Hanson, on Sunday night Macklemore and the game of rugby league did not back down and I have never been prouder to be part of the game in my life.

    As the song started, the crowd applauded. During the song people raised their hands and formed love hearts with their fingers. As the song ended, Macklemore encouraged ‘equality for all’.

    Controversial? No. Political? No. Empowering? Yes.


    (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

    During the song, the big screens featured statements reminding everyone in the crowd what the NRL’s values are. The most powerful words of all were ‘we stand for courage’ and ‘we stand for inclusiveness’.

    In those couple of minutes, Macklemore helped the NRL to demonstrate that when it comes to inclusiveness the game not only talks the talk, but it also walks the walk.

    Macklemore’s song is not a political song. It is a song about equality. The issue of same-sex marriage has become politicised because our government has made it so through this plebiscite.

    Even if the fundamental question is a political one, to the people who have said to me that sport and politics should not mix, I offer this.

    Our world is a complicated and messy one. To simply say that two things should not mix together does not make it so.

    Sport touches a part of our hearts and minds that is deeply personal and emotional. Politics also often touches that very same spot.

    If you look back through history there are countless occasions where politics and sport have combined and where the power of sport has been used to make a political statement.

    For example in 1967, Muhammad Ali was convicted of draft evasion and sentenced to five years in prison after he refused to be drafted into the armed forces.

    Who can forget when John Carlos and Tommie Smith looked downward and raised their fists in the air on the podium after winning medals at the Olympics in Mexico in 1968? That was one of the most powerful and recognised images in the 20th century.

    More recently, a debate has engulfed the United States about whether players should be able to kneel during the national anthem. In response to comments made by Donald Trump about this act ‘disrespecting’ the United States, many players and teams locked arms and knelt together in a form of peaceful protest against the President.

    It’s not even the first time that we have heard politically charged music at a major sporting event in Australia before. Remember when Cold Chisel played Khe Sanh in 1991, a song about a returned Vietnam veteran who struggles to return to life back home after serving in the war? I have seen footage of the crowd singing and enjoying the words to that song. What about when Tom Jones sang ‘Delilah’ at the AFL Grand Final, a song about a man who kills his girlfriend and reeks of domestic violence?

    We will never live in a world where sport and politics will not mix.

    And to be quite frank, I never want to.

    The power of sport is to use its voice to encourage and push change in our communities. I am proud that my sport is using its big voice to stand up for something important and to tell people that no matter who you are or where you come from, that you are always welcome in the rugby league family.

    Additionally, to the people complaining about Macklemore performing ‘Same Love’, I did not see similar complaints about the opportunity that the ‘no’ campaign was given to air an ad during the coverage.

    Putting all that aside, to me the question we are now being asked to answer is not a political one and it is not a religious one. It is a basic human rights question.

    Thank you to the NRL for saying that basic human rights matter and thank you to Macklemore for coming to Australia and reminding us all that love is patient, love is kind and most importantly that love is for absolutely everyone.

    Mary Konstantopoulos
    Mary Konstantopoulos

    Mary Konstantopoulos is a lawyer, sports advocate and proud owner and founder of the Ladies Who empire, including Ladies who League, Ladies who Legspin, Ladies who Lineout and Ladies who Leap. You can find her podcast on iTunes and find her on Twitter @mary__kaye and @ladieswholeague.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (250)

    • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:05am
      kobi said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:05am | ! Report

      Controversial? Yes. Political? Yes. Empowering? NO.

      • Columnist

        October 3rd 2017 @ 9:05am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        What exactly did you find controversial about it? Is it that the NRL thinks that inclusiveness is important? Or is it that they think equality is important?

        • October 3rd 2017 @ 11:45am
          kobi said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report


          • October 3rd 2017 @ 11:56am
            Justin Kearney said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

            If that is the case kobi you have a problem mate.

            • October 3rd 2017 @ 12:10pm
              kobi said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

              Did you tune in for the game or the political impact JK?

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 12:17pm
                Justin Kearney said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

                I tuned into to watch 3 games of footy and a musical act. Enjoyed it all thoroughly. Didnt do the old angry man act of switching the tele off through intolerance. Had a great day K.

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 4:17pm
                Kobi said | October 3rd 2017 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

                I fail to see why the Labor/Green alliance would go out of their way to upset their main voter base (Muslims) to appease 1% of the population with this LGBT Rubbish when we all know what Muslims do to LGBT’s, they throw them off tall buildings, hang them, behead them, mutilate them why are you not into them ?
                The Imams are preaching to the faithful here in Australia that man on man woman on woman is an evil sin.
                The Polititions are fighting over them for their votes and refuse to say Islamic Terrorism even though the Muslims themselves claim with pride every attack against westerners when they occur & with greater regularity than ever before.
                So when the time comes and Muslims out breed us there will be nowhere to hide and they will come aftervtheir appeasers first and foremost and thank you with ur head removed from your shoulders so becareful what you wish for.

              • Columnist

                October 3rd 2017 @ 7:45pm
                Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

                I weep for humanity.

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 8:37pm
                The Barry said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:37pm | ! Report

                Don’t weep Mary.

                I’m lucky enough that I work and live in circles where this abhorrent, bigoted behaviour isn’t tolerated. It’s a reality check when you’re exposed to its breathtaking idiocy in all its glory.

                But by and large these are the people who 100 or so years ago would have been vehemently opposed to women getting the vote.

                When would this conversation about same sex marriage have been possible in a rugby league forum? When would sport be able to lead the discussion and set the example on this issue?

                Definitely not 20 years ago. Probably not five years ago.

                Change happens and will happen. There will be a day – not too far in the future – when we’ll look back and wonder how or why this was ever an issue.

            • Columnist

              October 3rd 2017 @ 1:02pm
              Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

              + 1

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 2:55pm
                Con Scortis said | October 3rd 2017 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

                So much outrage over such a small thing, kobi.

                All I have to say to you is:

                What’s-a matter you? Hey! Gotta no respect?
                What-a you t’ink you do, why you look-a so sad?
                It’s-a not so bad, it’s-a nice-a place
                Ah shaddap-a you face!

              • Roar Pro

                October 3rd 2017 @ 3:31pm
                Wolly said | October 3rd 2017 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                Thanks Con you just made my day.

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 3:55pm
                Kobi said | October 3rd 2017 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

                Try something original

              • October 5th 2017 @ 7:23am
                Mark said | October 5th 2017 @ 7:23am | ! Report

                What a sad pathetic person you are.

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 5:06pm
                Mango Jack said | October 3rd 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

                Damn you , Con, that’s going to be in my head for the rest of the day!

          • October 3rd 2017 @ 3:47pm
            JonD said | October 3rd 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

            Kobi – have a Bex and a good lie down, sweetie ……

        • October 3rd 2017 @ 10:03pm
          soc said | October 3rd 2017 @ 10:03pm | ! Report

          it’s funny you know…everyone wants inclusiveness and equality, but they give themselves labels to stand out…
          ironic, no ?

          • October 5th 2017 @ 7:23am
            Mark said | October 5th 2017 @ 7:23am | ! Report

            No. You don’t understand what the word ironic means.

            • October 5th 2017 @ 2:06pm
              clipper said | October 5th 2017 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

              I thinks it’s the same ‘ironic’ that Alanis Morrisset sings about!

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 10:10am
        KenW said | October 3rd 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

        I think Mary might have overstepped slightly with the ‘Political? No’. Mostly because you went on to describe how the issue has been made political and then comparing it to other political issues in history.

        Controversial though? In what way? Much more accurate surveys than the current nonsense have consistently shown that 70-odd% of the population are fine with SSM. Of that the artistic class would be very close to 100%. Surely then a musician singing a song about a mainstream position that he is fully expected to agree with can’t be controversial?

    • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:17am
      Womblat said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      “Controversial? No. Political? No. Empowering? Yes.” And the cruellest most gutless social experiment in Australia’s history. The Government should have made the decision themselves but like all modern managers, they didn’t have the courage. As only one country has done in history, and they are still suffering for it, they put this important issue to a vote and look what’s happened. They threw this handful of wagyu steaks into the dogpit and created a firestorm of hate, bitterness, bullying and outrage, while they sit back and congratulate themselves on their brilliance.

      Regardless where you stand on it, the whole issue was terribly handled and completely hijacked by people with agendas. It had no place in Rugby League or in any sport and still doesn’t. I can’t believe it even gets a mention here.

      This is an opinion piece about politics on a sports website. Disappointing beyond words.

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:27am
        realist said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        Totally agree!

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:33am
        RandyM said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        “Regardless where you stand on it, the whole issue was terribly handled and completely hijacked by people with agendas.”

        I agree with this however this wasn’t a political move by the NRL. It just happened by chance.

        • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:40am
          Womblat said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

          Agreed, “Same Love” dates back to 2012, well before this debacle, and I’m sure the NRL didn’t direct him to perform it.

          But it’s been seized on by people with agendas as some sort of political victory instead of the coincidence you and I know it was. It’s enough to make you sick.

        • Columnist

          October 3rd 2017 @ 9:08am
          Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          Absolutely agree. The negotiations with Macklemore were happening for several months. The song is one of his biggest hits. End of story.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 3rd 2017 @ 8:56am
        Hard Yards said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        Yes, it is a political piece. Nobody brought up Mardi Gras Roberts’ sexuality when he was one of the hardest units to ever pack into a scrum at Manly, and the crowd always loved him. We all know gay people; most families have a gay person in their family somewhere; and in my own personal opinion I think we are all children of God. People will have an opinion consistent with their conscience. But it’s not footy. Sexuality is irrelevant to footy.

        But it does raise an interesting question about whether a line has been crossed, or whether any lines should be drawn at any time. And although this is a political piece, really everything in society is political to some extent, because society is political. The footy is a social activity pursued within the greater society. There are other issues concerning society, such as breast cancer, which find their way into the footy but which strictly speaking have nothing to do with footy. It’s not controversial in that case because everyone’s opinion is the same : breast cancer is bad. In this current gay marriage thing, not everyone’s opinion is the same. So do we stick to safe subject matter of relatively undivided opinion? Or do we ban all non-footy subject matter of opinion?

        Neither breast cancer nor gay marriage have anything to do with footy – but they do have have something to do with the people who play and watch footy. Should those matters be discussed or raised in the context of a football game? Well, that too is a matter of opinion.

        • Roar Guru

          October 3rd 2017 @ 2:03pm
          Mango Jack said | October 3rd 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

          Good points, HY.

          As you say, breast cancer is a non-controversial issue as there is unanimous support for measures to beat it. To a lesser extent, SSM enjoys popular support, according to polls, and is therefore also pretty “safe” ground for a major sporting organisation to take a stance.

          If we go a step further, what about euthanasia, another issue being debated in our parliaments? This is murkier territory and an issue that divides us more than SSM. Should the NRL take a stand on this one? Where do we draw the line?

      • Columnist

        October 3rd 2017 @ 9:07am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        Womblat, I completely agree about how poorly this has been handled. But I absolutely disagree that this piece has no place on a sports website – this happened at the NRL Grand Final, one of our biggest sporting moments of the year. The NRL came out and spoke about its values several times this week and responded to comments made by various politicians in the media.

        Just like opinion pieces about athletes in the US taking a knee, or Sam Newman making politically incorrect statements on the footy show, this piece has a place here because politics and sport are so often linked.

        This was the most important thing to come out of the NRL Grand Final for me and I wasn’t particularly interested in writing another piece about how the Storm are one of the best rugby league teams I have ever seen.

        • October 3rd 2017 @ 11:43am
          Womblat said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

          I know your opinion Mary, you’ve made your agenda clear by the title of your article. You don’t know mine, and you won’t. It’s that clear statement of personal belief that separates us. I don’t care what your political opinion is but I respect your right to have it. I’d rather not have it hammered at me through my favourite sporting website. I don’t visit this website for that reason. Do you see that?

          If the most important thing to come out of an NRL Grand Final for you is a political statement about SSM, as you say in your last paragraph above, then you are by definition putting politics above League on it’s most sacred day of the year. Sorry, but they don’t seem to be the actions of a true fan of the game.

          • October 3rd 2017 @ 12:05pm
            Justin Kearney said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

            That is grossly unfair Womblat. For many of us that song made the grand final as it showed our great sport can be a leader in supporting important social change. I am one of the nrl admins harshest critics but i was truly proud to be a rugby league supporter last sunday night. After what i have seen and heard over the past few weeks that song was a moment of positivity and optimism. I really enjoyed the game but i loved the song and what it said about equality fairness and the importance of acceptance for those who just happen to be a little different to others.

            • October 3rd 2017 @ 1:08pm
              Ando said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

              Have to agree with womblat here
              Mary, I like your articles normally. This is a sports opinion website, not a political one. While I don’t suggest that the 2 often aren’t inextricably linked, this as a political article, plain and simple.

              If someone was to write a protraditional marriage article on here they would be lambasted. Take your gay marriage opinions elsewhere

            • October 3rd 2017 @ 1:19pm
              Albo said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

              Where was the “equity fairness” consideration for the thousands of footy fans who don’t believe the traditional definition of marriage should be changed ? The NRL chose one side in a divisive political debate. It jumped on the polls driven bandwagon to virtual signal its commitment to the clichéd term of “inclusiveness” by “excluding” the opinions of thousands of their fans. Hypocrisy much ! Cynicism much ! Empowerment never !

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 3:54pm
                Renegade said | October 3rd 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report


                Can you explain how they “excluded” people?

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:50pm
                Matth said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

                Maybe, just maybe, the NRL administration believe in the yes vote and want to state that. It isn’t necessarily them just jumping on a bandwagon.

          • Columnist

            October 3rd 2017 @ 1:04pm
            Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

            For someone that was not interested in a ‘political’ article, you still chose to read it and have still chosen to spend time commenting on it. If you aren’t interested, do what I do when I see something I’m not interested in and don’t ready it.

            • October 3rd 2017 @ 4:27pm
              Womblat said | October 3rd 2017 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

              “If you don’t like it, don’t read it”? How undignified. Your political article (your words, not mine) is here, on a sporting opinion website. And because my opinion is different from yours, I not only shouldn’t have expressed it, but according to you, I shouldn’t have read it? Does anyone else find that offensive?

              Thank you so much for your advice which I’ll ignore. Like other contributors on this sports opinion website, I’ll read what I wish and comment where necessary because we live in a democracy, alternative opinion should not be censored, and people who overstep need to be recalibrated from time to time.

              • Columnist

                October 3rd 2017 @ 4:42pm
                Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

                Me suggesting you shouldn’t read it has nothing to do with you disagreeing with my view.

                I’m actually not someone generally interested in politics, so should I see a political article somewhere that I don’t think fits or I don’t think belongs, I don’t read it.

                Sport and politics are linked. Always have been. Always will be. This piece is just as relevant as any other piece published on the Roar today – just like the several other pieces which have been written about this issue.

                P.S. I’m not going to stop overstepping either.

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 6:29pm
                Milan said | October 3rd 2017 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

                Mary said, if you are not interested in reading about this subject, then don’t read it.

                What’s difficult to understand that Wombat.

                Show some respect for one of the best writers on the roar

          • October 3rd 2017 @ 6:02pm
            Milan said | October 3rd 2017 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

            Well don’t read the article then wombat, or are you not intelligent enough to be able t scroll down past an article that you don’t like the look of?

            For goodness sake man

          • October 3rd 2017 @ 11:59pm
            Peter said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:59pm | ! Report

            Mary writes one article on the subject and you say she is “hammering her opinion” at you? That Tony Abbott phrase tells me exactly what your view is. By your own argument, your post should be removed as being overtly political.
            Keep your opinions off my sports site!

            • October 4th 2017 @ 8:26am
              Womblat said | October 4th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

              You know nothing about my opinion. I know yours and couldn’t care less. And through all your hatred, and fear, and invective, you demonstrate the whole point of not expressing a political view on a sporting website. It has no place and causes nothing but problems.

              Keep your bigotry off my sports site.

              • October 4th 2017 @ 8:37am
                Justin Kearney said | October 4th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

                What an angry womblat!

              • October 5th 2017 @ 8:34am
                Mark said | October 5th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

                You don’t know what bigotry but thanks for trying.

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 9:33am
        Andy og said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

        How does it not have a place in sport, when sport is always a reflection of society. Politics and sport are always linked. Did you not catch Malcolm at the footy or Tones running out with a Manly Guernsey. It seems it is only a problem when it stands up for its own beliefs rather than being a conduit for others. Inclusiveness is the beating heart of all sport, how is it wrong for sport to trumpet that. As well as being idealogically aligned it makes good economic sense to back SSM. If it was by accident then that was an amazing piece of luck.

        • Columnist

          October 3rd 2017 @ 9:54am
          Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          I think the other reason this has become such a big issue Andy, is because this is a divisive issue and makes people uncomfortable. If it were something that everyone agreed on then I don’t think people would have so much of a problem of mixing the two together.

          • October 3rd 2017 @ 1:43pm
            Albo said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

            Bingo May ! It’s a divisive issue ! So why would the NRL seek to divide its fan base by promoting one side of a political debate ? Naivity ? Cynicism ? Sport unites us, politics divide us !

            • October 3rd 2017 @ 2:05pm
              chris said | October 3rd 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

              Actually Albo its do with timing. He was already booked in before all this started. Is that really hard for you ti understand or are you just plain stubborn?

            • Columnist

              October 3rd 2017 @ 4:43pm
              Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

              Because the NRL wants to make it clear that everyone is welcome in the game and that everyone should feel included. Simple as that.

              It’s not about the NRL making a political statement – it’s about them wanting to make the game accessible to everyone.

              • Columnist

                October 4th 2017 @ 9:22am
                Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 4th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

                soc, Womblat is free to express his view, just as I am able to express mine.

                I objected to Womblat because he doesn’t think this piece has any place on a sporting website. Despite that view, he continues to come back, read the comments and participate in discussion.

                If it has no place here, then why has it been one of the biggest debate generating pieces written about the NRL Gf?

            • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:52pm
              Matth said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:52pm | ! Report

              Maybe they decided to take a stand for what they believe in.

              • October 3rd 2017 @ 9:57pm
                soc said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

                and Womblat is dong the same, yet he is getting shouted down.

                Hence the misery that our Politicians have foisted upon us.

                If Mary or anyone wants to say “yes” great
                if Womblat or anyone else wants to say “no” great too.

                freedom of speech goes both ways

              • October 5th 2017 @ 8:35am
                Mark said | October 5th 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

                Wombat is doing the shouting. And it’s very sad.

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 1:35pm
        John said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

        I would love to think that our government is gutless by thrusting these divisive social issues upon the nation, as the other way to look at it, would be thinking the government is deliberately employing divisive tactics to divide us as a nation to make us easier to control/conquer.

        Divide and conquer Sun Tzu.

      • October 4th 2017 @ 7:54am
        Nick said | October 4th 2017 @ 7:54am | ! Report

        Hmmm – a bit like Red September

    • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:33am
      AGO74 said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      It’s easy for the nrl to say support other initiatives such as “women in league” or “nrl all stars game” etc but it’s in these other more contentious areas where the nrl (and other organisations both sporting and corporate) show genuine leadership.

      as an organisation it would be hypocritical and hollow for NRL to say that they support inclusiveness and diversity etc and not include same sex couple or homosexuals in general.

      Some call it political correctness. I call it fairness.

      • Columnist

        October 3rd 2017 @ 11:06am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

        According to some, AG, the NRL should only take a stand on issues that are easy. When it becomes hard, the organisation becomes accused of ‘preaching’ or ‘shoving messages down people’s throats’.

        I absolutely agree with your comment.

        • Roar Guru

          October 3rd 2017 @ 2:08pm
          Mango Jack said | October 3rd 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

          I’m all in favour of organisations like the NRL showing leadership on issues, but where do they draw the line? Euthanasia is another current issue, but even more controversial. Should the NRL take a stand on this issue?

          • Columnist

            October 3rd 2017 @ 3:39pm
            Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

            The NRL took a stance in response to a plea from Ian Roberts to Todd Greenberg to not let this moment in time pass. Ian saw an opportunity for the NRL to take a stand in response to a current issue playing out in the media. I think there is a difference between that and euthanasia.

            • Columnist

              October 3rd 2017 @ 3:40pm
              Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

              Additionally, the importance of making a stand in relation to this issue is partly so it is clear that the NRL family is an inclusive one. It is about making sure everyone feels welcome, rather than just taking a stance on an issue for the sake of it.

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 4:32pm
                Mango Jack said | October 3rd 2017 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

                I’m not saying the NRL is wrong. I support SSM and get the point about inclusion.

                But with respect, you haven’t answered my question. What if a high-profile player, who has just seen his parent die a painful slow death and was denied the opportunity to end their life, was to approach the NRL and ask them to take a public stance on the issue?

              • Roar Guru

                October 3rd 2017 @ 8:00pm
                Mango Jack said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

                I’m talking generally about organisations supporting causes. Someone above mentioned breast cancer as a cause that the NRL, along with other sporting organisations, supports. I’m just asking where the line is, nothing more. Keep your y-fronts on, mate!

          • Columnist

            October 3rd 2017 @ 4:45pm
            Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

            I have answered your question. Because it’s not about going out and adopting stances on political issues for no reason. This is about diversity and equality. That’s all.

            Euthanasia is not a diversity issue. It’s different entirely. You are comparing apples and oranges.

          • October 3rd 2017 @ 6:33pm
            Milan said | October 3rd 2017 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

            Oh come on Mango.

            How can you compare one issue which is all about inclusion to one which is an ethical dilemma.

            The amount of nonsense on this thread is staggering.

            Comparing chalk and cheese

    • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:35am
      Alan said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      Well stated Mary and I fully agree.

    • October 3rd 2017 @ 8:44am
      kobi said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      Controversial? Yes. Political? Yes. Empowering? NO.

      John Carlos and Tommie Smith were stripped of their gold medals for making political statement.

      Muhammad Ali, a boxer, was one of thousands of (non sports) people that were jailed for refusing the draft.

      More recently, a debate has engulfed the United States about whether players should be able to kneel during the national anthem.

      Those players were dis-respecting the American Flag and the veterans that served under that flag, some giving their lives, so that these dis-respectful multi millionaire players could play their game in freedom.

      Trump was speaking for the majority of Americans that are walking away from the NFL in droves because of that dis-respect shown to the Flag & veterans that fought & died so that these multi millionaire players, managers & owners had a product to earn a privileged lifestyle most americans could only dream about.

      Cold Chisel played Khe Sanh in 1991
      Tom Jones sang ‘Delilah’ at the 2014 AFL Grand Final

      The above examples of the performers playing their songs did not invoke violence before or after the gigs where as Macklemore performing ‘Same Love’ was performed in an environment that has divided a nation due to the SSM issue we are experiencing ATM both politically & socially.
      Keep Politics out of Sport.

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 9:44am
        Andy og said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        It was empowering to those that agree, obviously you don’t. Some of the biggest changes society has seen has been expedited by brave protest by those with a platform. So simplistic to just say the guys on one knee disrespect veterans, what nonsense. It’s the same as voting no and being told you hate gay’s false and misleading. Peaceful protest like the nrl’s should be applauded, men marching with helmets and nazi flags should not.

      • Columnist

        October 3rd 2017 @ 9:55am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        Ah I understand. So it’s ok to perform politically charged songs as long as it does not lead to violence? Got it.

        • October 3rd 2017 @ 11:52am
          kobi said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

          So you advocate songs that lead to violence Mary ?

          • October 3rd 2017 @ 12:44pm
            Mushi said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

            The issue is the rationale, if you legitimately believe that the song entitled “same love” was used to incite violence then you should be preparing for legal action rather than wasting your time on here.

          • Columnist

            October 3rd 2017 @ 3:40pm
            Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

            Yes… clearly that’s what I’m doing. Far out.

      • Roar Guru

        October 3rd 2017 @ 11:05am
        XI said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

        They aren’t disrespecting the flag or veterans since it was a veteran who came up with the idea for kneeling. It’s how they signify mourning at a military funeral in the US, so the NFL players are saying they’re in mourning for the innocent people who are killed in the US.

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 12:39pm
        northerner said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

        I’d have said Carlos, Smith and Ali’s actions certainly were empowering. They refused to bow to what they believed was injustice in society. Standing tall for what you believe in is the most empowering feeling of all.

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 12:40pm
        Mushi said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

        I love these “keep politics out of sports” lines, public sports began as a political tool, rugby-league clubs are intensely political, the formation of rugby league had more than dash of politics behind it and we routinely engage on social policy issues with sports.

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 12:58pm
        Mushi said | October 3rd 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

        I do also love that a song sympathetic to domestic violence ending in murder is seen as preferred to one asking for acceptance homosexuality.

        I think that speaks volumes, kobi doesn’t like same sex marriage because then it is confusing as to whom is allowed to hit whom

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 1:50pm
        peeeko said | October 3rd 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

        Trump was speaking for the majority of Americans that are walking away from the NFL in droves because of that dis-respect shown to the Flag & veterans

        i dont think they are a majority and not leaving the NFL in droves.

        people need to stop bringing veterans into this. it has nothing to do with them and you are using them to try and score points. i have heard plenty of veterans support the protest

      • Roar Guru

        October 3rd 2017 @ 2:37pm
        Mango Jack said | October 3rd 2017 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

        Kobi, the fact that Smith and Carlos were stripped of their medals only highlights the virtue of their stand. They were prepared to risk the reward of their effort in order to achieve a greater benefit for all. They are now lauded for taking that action, as is the Australian Peter Norman, who shared not only the podium but also wore a protest badge in solidarity with them. He too was ostracised by his official athletic organisation.

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 3:50pm
        JonD said | October 3rd 2017 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

        Kobi – once again sweetie, a Bex and a good lie down and you’ll feel better. You might even be able to think it’s the 1950s again !

      • October 4th 2017 @ 12:08am
        Peter said | October 4th 2017 @ 12:08am | ! Report

        You must be very proud of the Australian Olympic Committee’s bloody- minded destruction of Peter Norman to the extent of refusing to invite him to the 2000 Olympics or to have have official representation at his funeral. The USOC invited Norman and Smith and Carlos were pall-bearers at his funeral.
        If you think the AOC did the right thing, I’m glad I don’t know you personally.

      • October 4th 2017 @ 12:14am
        Peter said | October 4th 2017 @ 12:14am | ! Report

        The actions taken by NFL players are not the point of this article and your views are BS anyway. It has been said over and over that “disrespecting the flag, veterans blahblah” is not what it is about. It’s raised as a diversion by people who probably think black Americans should still be sitting politely at the back of the bus and hugely grateful if they are occasionally allowed to sit at the front.
        You do know that the US military paid the NFL millions of dollars to do the whole anthem-flag thing as a recruiting exercise to get people to sign up to go and fight the bogus war in Iraq? How’s that for politicising sport?

    • October 3rd 2017 @ 9:00am
      Jimmmy said | October 3rd 2017 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      Funny, I was at the game, I saw no division or dissent . My Grand kids loved it . I tolerated it ( not my taste) and the game went on. Really, let’s get the vote over and done with , act on the result and let the game go on.

      • Columnist

        October 3rd 2017 @ 11:07am
        Mary Konstantopoulos said | October 3rd 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

        Can’t convert you into becoming a Macklemore fan, Jimmmy? 😛

        • Roar Guru

          October 3rd 2017 @ 2:39pm
          Mango Jack said | October 3rd 2017 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

          Listening to Ray Hadley’s version should be enough to convert him!

          • Roar Guru

            October 3rd 2017 @ 3:51pm
            Con Scortis said | October 3rd 2017 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

            My favourite part so far has been the little hissy-fit between shock jocks Ray Hadley and Neil Mitchell.

            Mitchell had a go a Ray for his fake version and Ray Hadley “hit back at the suggestion his song was rubbish”.

            “Stick your head up your bum, Neil,” he said. “If you wanna bag me, ring me. Have the guts to get on the phone … before you slam me. The song was recorded, you dolt, in 2012.”

            Such class! Such intelligence! Such wit! And yet this buffoon (Hadley) has a go a Macklemore.

            • October 3rd 2017 @ 4:04pm
              Bert said | October 3rd 2017 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

              Like I said earlier…he made a much better taxi driver

            • Roar Guru

              October 3rd 2017 @ 4:36pm
              Mango Jack said | October 3rd 2017 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

              Love it! Hadley’s ego and capacity for self-delusion have no bounds.