Anthony Mundine is taking a stand. By sitting.
The controversial boxer reiterated his stance on Monday that the Australian national anthem is racist – and he has “no choice but to take a seat” when it is sung before Friday night’s grudge bout against Danny Green.
Mundine claims he is simply trying to educate people that Advance Australia Fair is a theme song for the divisive White Australia policy.
“I am a man that stands against wrong and I think that is a big wrong in our country,” he told reporters in Adelaide.
“And I can’t stand for something that I don’t believe in.”
Organisers have reportedly said they are considering playing the anthem before the fighters enter the ring to avoid pre-fight controversy.
Mundine said he was not “trying to divide people or be controversial”, but was just being honest.
“I’m about uniting people together, uniting the country together,” he said.
“Do your research on the anthem, do your research on ‘advance, we’re young, we’re free’. We are far from young. And a lot of us ain’t free.
“Advance Australia Fair, you speak to your historians and educated college professors, it’s there as in white fair, not in fair go.”
Mundine will take on Green in the last fight of his career on February 3.
The bout, at the Adelaide Oval, is expected to draw 30,000 spectators and a record nationwide TV audience on Foxtel.
For indigenous relations to move forward, Mundine said the anthem must change.
“The flagship for the country is the flag and the anthem,” he said.
“They are the iconic symbols. So let’s start by changing them and bringing the first-nation people, the traditional owners, with us.
“I would like to see it changed for the better for Australian society and for the future generations.”
His rival Green said the controversy wasn’t his worry.
“I’m not invested in Anthony Mundine enough to care what he says,” Green said.
“I have been raised to be very open-minded.
“And Choc (Mundine) is an indigenous Australian … if he feels so passionate and strongly about that, then so be it. That is his prerogative and that is his opinion, and that is his choice.
” … I will be standing for the anthem and I will be singing the national anthem.”
Indigenous singer Jessica Mauboy will perform the national anthem, but Mundine told News Corp the former Australian Idol runner-up was only chosen “because she is black”.
“It’s disrespectful to our people. And this is close to my heart. I like Jessica but it’s not for our people.”
African-American NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick caused furore among some Americans recently when he chose not to stand for the US anthem.
Kaepernick was later joined by other American athletes, who chose to kneel during the anthem to protest the shooting of unarmed African-Americans and other race-related issues.