ANTHONY Mundine has labelled Australia one the most racist countries in the world and has called for the flag and national anthem to be changed.
A day after his racial attack on Daniel Geale, Mundine fronted the media again to apologise for offending Tasmanian Aboriginals before launching a national call for change.
“I want to apologise if my comments have offended some Aboriginals in Tasmania,” Mundine said.
“I know there are a lot of Aboriginals in Tasmania that are proud of their heritage, just like me.
“My comments weren’t directed at anybody but the system that, in my opinion, does not reflect the sentiment of the first, second or third generation Aboriginals.
“There are people who get jobs and are claiming benefits who claim to be Aboriginal because they have a great, great, great, great grandmother or grandfather, and that’s it.
“The system needs to accommodate those Aboriginals that need it most instead of trying to cater for everyone.”
The star boxer then went on to accuse his home country of gross intolerance.
“Everyone that comes here and a lot of my close friends and family members, we feel Australia is one of the most racist countries here,” Mundine said.
“I want to move forward, I want to unite the people, I want to move forward as one as all Australian.”
“We’ve never had any representation on the flag.”
The former rugby league player also called for Aboriginals to be represented on the Australian flag rather than the Union Jack.
Mundine also wants Advance Australia Fair changed, as it is “theme song” of the now dead White Australia policy.
“With the flag now, I can’t fly it,” he said.
“And I want to fly it for the Australian people.”
Mundine refused to apologise to Geale himself, reiterating his view the fellow boxer does not do enough for the Aboriginal community.
“The only reason I questioned Daniel Geale’s Aboriginality is because I’ve never seen no action,” he said.
“He is a dual world champion, but that’s just me and my opinion.
“He can do what he wants to do.”
Geale was quick to respond this afternoon, telling SEN Radio he is disappointed in Mundine.
“No, he hasn’t apologised to me and it is a little bit disappointing, he did offend my family and a lot of people down in Tasmania,” Geale said.
“It’s one thing to do those things then get on TV and turn it into a political statement, it is a bit funny but I don’t want to be involved in his political statement.
“He claims to be doing all this but this is about a fight. He’s trying to turn it into something else and detract from the fight and I’m not going to do that.
“I expected some things to be said in the press conference but I believe he did take it too far, he didn’t think things through properly and he’s probably getting a lot more attention than he thought he would – although he does like any kind of attention, but me I’d prefer to concentrate on the fight.”
When asked if he had thought about pulling the fight, Geale said:
“It definitely has crossed my mind for sure, but a lot of people are backing me on this and a lot of people are very very angry as you’d expect,” he said.
“A lot of people are sending their support and saying they believe he’ll get what’s coming to him and all they’ve got to do is wait til that date is set.
“He’s made a living from saying those things and it is very frustrating, I’m trying to do the right thing and prove to people that boxers can be a little bit intelligent… we can be successful and still be good people.”
Mundine’s comments today followed yesterday’s media conference when he questioned the Tasmanian boxer’s Aboriginal heritage.
“You people don’t realise how resilient I am, I see what you’re trying to do, the media, the white press … you want me to be the bad boy, I’ll be the bad boy,” Mundine said.
“I thought they wiped all Aborigines from Tasmania out, that’s all I know.
“I don’t see him representing us black people, or coloured people. I don’t see him out in the communities doing what I do with people … he got a white woman, white kids.”
Rugby league personality and former player Matty Johns had his say on Triple M today.
“He’s trying to sell the fight, but he’s selling himself short,” Johns said.
“He’s terrific bloke, I really like him…but bringing up that stuff is crook, it’s disrespectful. That is racist.”
The backlash has been swift today.
Hawthorn’s indigenous star Shaun Burgoyne tweeted: “Anthony Mundine’s comments about Geale’s heritage, wife & kids were disgraceful.”
Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre legal director Michael Mansell says there could be grounds for a racial vilification case.
“The general view in the Aboriginal (community) is shock and horror,” he said.
“Let’s give Mundine the opportunity to recant on the comments that he made and make the apology, and make it very public.”
Former league player Mark Geyer said on Triple M: “It’s about a fight, not his family. Everyone that knows Choc Mundine away from the fighting game hasn’t got a bad word to say about him, because he’s a decent bloke…but when he says stuff like that, come on.”
Richmond AFL star forward Jack Riewoldt, who hails from Tasmania, took to Twitter to declare his support for Geale.
“Not much of a boxing fan but…. Can’t wait to see Tasmania’s own #RealDealGeale give mundine a good old fashioned touch up!” he wrote.
The official 2011 census Twitter account even weighed in to dispel one of Mundine’s claims.
“There are 19,626 Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people in Tas – 4% of the state’s population,” they wrote.
Mundine probably wished he could put the words back in his mouth but like the 9/11 comments, they floated into the atmosphere yesterday and sat firmly in the shelf marked “Ludicrous Ravings From The Mouth”.
Having a white partner has nothing to do with Geale’s heritage – Mundine overstepped the line.
Geale said: “I’ve shown the Aboriginal flag on my trunks for a lot of my fights, I am very proud of my heritage from down in Tasmania.
“It’s stupid what he says, but that’s the role he plays and that’s why most people these days, when he starts off with his rants, they switch off. I know I switch off.
“A lot of people wanted me to take this fight because they’re sick of him, they want his career to be finished and they want him to stop saying stupid things.”
Underlying all of this is that Mundine and the press realise Geale will not help sell this fight with his words – he dislikes the stinging verbal jousts that so often publicise a big fight.
So Mundine played his bad boy role, in front of a theatre that wanted to walk out, but who will return in three months to see words become action.