Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Rugby League: society writ small

By John Passant - posted Friday, 18 June 2010

The racism and sexism controversy in rugby league is a window into the soul of Australian society. The result is both ugly and inspiring.

Ugly because the crimson thread of racism and sexism run through our body politic and major limbs of society, And inspiring because Timana Tahu and the millions who support him show that we want to destroy this rotten cancer on our nation.

Timana Tahu is a hero for walking out on his football team, New South Wales.


Why did he do it? Because the assistant coach and former super star Andrew Johns called Greg Inglis, one of the Queensland players, a black c*nt.

Timana is an Aborigine and proud of his heritage. Inglis is a close friend.

Tahu decided to take a stand against racism, racism that is not only endemic to rugby league but to Australian society.

As I have argued on this site, Australia is founded on two forms of racism - racism against the original inhabitants and racism against non-whites coming to the country. It is this crimson thread of racism that runs through our body politic and major sections of society even today.

Tahu is leading a fightback. Here’s part of what he said:

Leaving Origin was a really big decision for me and I’d like to clarify that it was not just one racial comment directed at one individual that offended me.


The remarks were directed at various races and the situation I encountered was totally unacceptable.

I believe I am a role model for children and I did this to show my kids this type of behaviour is wrong.

This isn’t about me or Andrew Johns, it’s about arresting racism and standing up for my beliefs.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. All

An earlier version of this article was first published in En Passant with John Passant on June 14, 2010.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

11 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

John Passant is a Canberra writer ( and member of Socialist Alternative.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by John Passant

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of John Passant
Article Tools
Comment 11 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy