Blues star’s anthem stance backed by JT
CODY Walker will remain silent during the national anthem at State of Origin I, after opting not to sing it ahead of the All Stars game in February.
Walker told Fairfax: "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.''
His decision has attracted some high-profile support, with NRL legend Johnathan Thurston revealing his surprise at the lack of public debate over the anthem following the All Stars game in February.
Several of the Indigenous All Stars players joined the 29-year-old Souths star in remaining silent during Advance Australia Fair before the match.
"The stand the team took on not singing the national anthem … it was like it was just brushed over,'' Thurston told Fairfax.
"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."
Thurston praised the stance adopted by the side, saying: "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."
Following the All Stars clash, Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga publicly called for a referendum on the national anthem.
"It is time for the Australian people, I believe, to have another conversation about their national anthem", Mal wrote.
"We expect them (Kangaroos players) 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."
As Thurston said, that discussion failed to materialise.
And so Walker will stand firm in his silence - not as a public protest, but as a personal response to the anthem.
Walker explained his decision in a post-match press-conference following the All Star game, saying '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," he said.
"I think it's something that everyone as a group, and everyone in Australia, needs to work something out."
Blues coach Brad Fittler offered his support to Walker's decision to stay mute, but said "I'll be singing it".
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