“NRL Indigenous round used to celebrate the greats like [Arthur] Beetson,” Latham wrote on Twitter and Griffin liked. “Now it’s one big whinge along the lines of: White European culture is so bad I can’t sing the National Anthem. But the white European culture of this imported footy game is so good I’m pocketing the $700k per season.”
Latham also posted: “Peter V’landys has sent out a search party looking for racism in rugby league. All they have found so far is his banning of Islander Christian Israel Folau.” Griffin also liked that post.
While Thompson said he was “disappointed” with Griffin’s attitude to Indigenous Round, Blacklock went further.
“I’m not saying Anthony is a racist – that’s not my message – but would I feel comfortable playing under him after seeing his political view and hearing about his view on the Indigenous game? No, I would not,” Blacklock said. “Look, I’ve got nothing against Anthony Griffin, but I’d feel uncomfortable about playing for someone if they had those views. I actually have met Griffin and he is a good fella to talk to and would do an excellent job [at the Dragons]. I just don’t agree with what his views are away from football.”
Thompson said he would like to speak to Griffin.
“His attitude is disappointing … if I was playing at his team, I’d want to sit down and chat with him to hear why he felt that way. I know we all make mistakes and I’d like to know if he regretted what he liked, because I know we all make mistakes. I know that when you have a coach like I had with Des [Hasler at Manly], who is on the same page as you in issues like this, then you will go out on the field and want to spill blood for him.
“I think Anthony would benefit if Laurie invited him into the [All Stars] camp next year to see what the Indigenous game means to us. It’s a game for everyone. It’s about bringing us together and hope.”
Campbell also said he’d like to sit down with Griffin and even Latham to discuss Indigenous issues.
“I’d play under Anthony and I’ve played under people who have all sorts of views,” Campbell said. “You don’t always get that choice in life. You sometimes can listen to a point of view and then you can try and reason with a person. What Anthony likes and says is his right. I respect that. Only he can control that. Everyone has a different outlook and different values.
‘I’ve got nothing against Anthony Griffin, but I’d feel uncomfortable about playing for someone if they had those views.’
“If he thinks we are being political then that’s his view. If bringing a voice to issues like racism, domestic violence and same-sex relationships is political, then it is. I’ve been told about the tweets Anthony liked and I’d like to hear from him why feels that way.
“We may be raising awareness and starting conversations. That’s a good thing, if you ask me. I could never be outspoken like Anthony Mundine was back in the day. But if he said the same things now about the flag and anthem as he said then, he’d have a lot more support.
“If we start people thinking or provide inspiration, then that’s a good thing. We acknowledge the past and part of the way we are doing that is providing a future for the next generation of players who will be able to make a difference.”
Griffin did not respond to requests for comment but told this column last week his social media was operated by his daughter.
GONE TO THE DOGS
The Bulldogs have had a strong Lebanese influence for many years, leading some around the Belmore club to label new coach Trent Barrett “Trent Beirut”.
Barrett’s public confirmation of his commitment to the Bulldogs was an obvious response to Phil Gould’s public call for him to reconsider the move. Behind the scenes, Barrett has bemoaned the state of the club, which has been beset by infighting in recent weeks, and the lack of relationships with managers. He knows he is in for a tough ride.
BLACK EYE FOR POLICE
From the top, it’s worth saying the vast majority of police do an amazing job under terrible circumstances. In the Curtis Scott case they made a mess of it from start to finish.
When his agent, Sam Ayoub, and then-lawyer Danny Eid saw the footage that has now been made public, they knew they had to defend Scott in the strongest manner. To back it up, photos were taken of his bruised body. How the police prosecutor allowed it to get as far as it did is mind-boggling. The Raiders got it right by backing their player, and former NRL boss Todd Greenberg got it right when he chose not to stand him down.
The police had three opportunities to drop the case when Scott’s legal team made approaches. The first was three to four weeks after the incident. The second was after barristers became involved and costs had escalated beyond $30,000. The last was a few weeks ago and they said no on each occasion, stating they were confident in their case. One look at the initial 72-second video makes you wonder how they reached that conclusion, let alone the entire 15-minute version.
Also a mystery is that Scott says no one from the Rugby League Players Association contacted him throughout the process, even after all the charges were dismissed.
DEL BUSSO’S MUM SAYS TV GIG MORE PAIN FOR REYNOLDS
Josh Reynolds won’t be tuning in to watch ex-girlfriend Arabella Del Busso on Channel Seven’s upcoming reality TV series SAS Australia. Nor will her disgusted mother, who has slammed the network for putting her daughter on air.
The 30-year-old “model” made headlines when she accused Reynolds of assault. She was then exposed as a liar with numerous aliases who had faked pregnancies.
The charges against Reynolds were dropped in February, but now Seven is ready to cash in on Del Busso’s infamy.
“I am disgusted they [Seven] would put my daughter on air as a celebrity,” said her mum, Isobel. “It’s bad enough she has hurt Josh Reynolds – now they are rubbing his face in it by paying her to be on TV. He doesn’t deserve this; not from her. He has been through a lot and had his reputation questioned or ruined by her. It’s disgusting. It really should be criminal.
“It’s not the only time she got money. She got something for an interview with 60 Minutes. I don’t care as much about that, even though it’s wrong. At least that’s not making her out to be a star.”
Isobel said the money she earns should go to her victims.
“She has hurt so many people,” Isobel said. “She owes money everywhere. She has hurt people, ruined lives. What kind of message does this send to people through society? What does that tell people? Behave like this and you get fame and money. The people who make these decisions have questions to answer.”
SBW RUNS OUT OF GAS — AGAIN
Sonny Bill Williams might have generated $32 million worth of publicity for the NRL in the lead-up to his return to the game last Saturday night, but that didn’t help him when he ran out of fuel on his way to training recently and had to pull into a petrol station.
SBW had left home without any money and had to call a nearby mate for help. However, in these COVID-19 bubble times he had to be careful: his mate left him a coffee and some cash metres away on the ground.
And it isn’t the only time SBW has run out of gas. He was blowing hard after his return against the Raiders in Canberra, where he played 13 minutes off the bench in one of the most publicised cameos in the history of rugby league.
SHARK AND AWE
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys and NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo met with the board of Sony Music last week. There was a surprise at the end with star Amy Shark performing for the pair. They were left impressed but, according to Sony, it was Shark who was nervous about meeting “Mr Rugba League” V’landys. It may have been an audition for the grand final entertainment.
A few weeks back we brought you the story of Mat Rogers starting a sports management company. He received his accreditation recently and is now a registered agent. He has some excellent young talent in his sights and is about to sign his first clients.
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Danny Weidler is a sport columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.