Cricket stars fire back at ‘petty’ ScoMo
Indigenous cricketer Dan Christian has hit back at Prime Minister Scott Morrison's comments after he labelled the omission of Australia Day references in the BBL as "pretty ordinary".
The public holiday matches will now be promoted as "January 26" games after consultation with Indigenous leaders.
With the BBL set to have three games on the public holiday, the change aims to make the games more inclusive for people who regard the day as one to mourn Aboriginal lives lost.
Prime Minister Morrison hit out at the decision and told Cricket Australia to stay out of politics.
"A bit more focus on cricket, a little less focus on politics would be my message to Cricket Australia," he told Queensland's 4RO Radio on Thursday.
"I think that's pretty ordinary. But I mean, that's what they're putting on their press releases."
He also told reporters: "It's not cricket. That would be my reaction. Australian cricket fans would like Cricket Australia to focus a lot more on cricket and a lot less on politics."
Mr Morrison also caused a stir with further comments about Australia Day, telling reporters: "You know on Australia Day, it's all about acknowledging how far we've come. When those 12 ships turned up in Sydney all those years ago, it wasn't a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either."
But Christian, who plays for the Sydney Sixers and has had a successful T20 career around the world, has hit back at Mr Morrison's comments.
Christian was born in Narrandera in New South Wales and is proud Wiradjuri man.
@ScottMorrisonMP read the room Mr Prime Minister. @CricketAus are leading the way because your government won’t. There’ll be millions of kids watching our @BBL games on the 26th January, and they’ll see us taking a knee against racism, and promoting inclusion for all. Take note.— Dan Christian (@danchristian54) January 22, 2021
Ahead of making his T20 debut for Australia in 2010, Christian spoke of his Indigenous heritage.
"I'm an Aboriginal man from the Wiradjuri tribe in NSW, that's all through my dad's side of the family, and they're all born and bred from down there," he said at the time.
"I've grown up in that environment, and I'm an Aboriginal man … it is what it is."
Several Big Bash teams have taken a knee before each game, including Christian's Sixers side.
But he had some support from former Australian star Usman Khawaja as well, who labelled Mr Morrison's comments as "pretty petty" and that Cricket Australia "could say the same thing vice versa".
I think for ScoMo to say to CA "a bit more focus on cricket and a little less focus on politics" is pretty petty. CA could say the same thing vice versa but what's that going to solve. Someone needs to take action to figure out what works for us as a nation. Well said mate 👍🏾 https://t.co/KjwK5VY1mE— Usman Khawaja (@Uz_Khawaja) January 22, 2021
The cricketers aren't the only ones to fire back at Mr Morrison with Olympic legend Cathy Freeman also slamming the comments.
You can’t compare the experiences of those 12 ships that first arrived to— Cathy Freeman (@CathyFreeman) January 22, 2021
this country to what their arrival meant for all generations of Australia's First Nations people!
It's the age old debate of whether sportspeople should delve into politics but Mr Morrison has been accused of using sport for political purposes, as a photo of him talking to Steve Smith in the middle of last years' bushfire crisis re-emerged.
Sports writer Daniel Jeffrey shared the photo and wrote: "I like the part where Scotty is allowed to focus on cricket (during a horrific bushfire season) but Cricket Australia isn't allowed to focus on politics."
Damien Peck tweeted: "OK, but can we now ban all politicians from sport?"
Within the Big Bash there is a split as well as the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers play off.
The Sixers will follow the Cricket Australia recommendation to refer to the event as January 26, while the Stars will promote the match as an "Australia Day" clash.
Stars general manager Nick Cummins told News Corp that a proper debate should be held over changing the date.
"We are referring to it as Australia Day," Cummins said. We believe there's a broader conversation that needs to be had about Australia Day and the date but that needs to be had in conjunction with all stakeholders in Victorian Cricket and done in a timely and constructive manner and not rushed through and done arbitrarily."
Originally published as Cricket stars fire back at 'petty' ScoMo