How AFL, NRL marked Australia Day

All 18 AFL clubs have released statements expressing solidarity with Indigenous and First Nations peoples to mark Australia Day.

With calls growing louder every year to change the date of the public holiday, the entire AFL community has acknowledged ‘the pain and suffering it [January 26] causes many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’, and called for unity and respect for the past across the nation.

While some responses were critical, there was also an overwhelming amount of support among each team’s supporter base in acknowledging the past trauma associated with January 26.

It comes after several clubs, most notably Carlton, were criticised for ‘fence-sitting’ on posts acknowledging the hurt caused by Australia Day 12 months ago.

St Kilda’s statement was particularly strong; the Saints described the day as one ‘of mourning not celebration’, and called for all to ‘listen, learn and understand Australia’s history, the good and the bad’.

The NRL’s official social media accounts have also released a statement acknowledging the day and its meaning to Indigenous communities.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs also released a statement; however, as of midday on January 26, they were the only NRL club to do so.

However, Bulldogs football manager Phil Gould posted a photo with Australian and Indigenous flags together.

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