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Racism not intentional in NRL: Thaiday

Test star Sam Thaiday says the stain of racial abuse remains on rugby league's intense battlefield but he urges fellow indigenous players to be the bigger man.
Racism not intentional in NRL: Thaiday
by AAP

By Jim Morton

BRISBANE, Aug 14 AAP - Test star Sam Thaiday says the stain of racial abuse remains on rugby league's intense battlefield but he urges fellow indigenous players to be the bigger man.

Promoting the first indigenous jersey to be worn by the Brisbane Broncos on Friday night, Thaiday revealed he still hears racial taunts being made in NRL matches.

However, the Broncos skipper and Queensland Origin back-rower said for the most part the abuse is "not intentionally" racist.

"It's a very tough and physical game," he said on Wednesday. "It's man against man and it's very much like the old gladiators.

"We're out there to win at all costs and sometimes things get said in the heat of the moment that I think aren't said as a hurtful thing.

"When things are said in a hurtful way that's when it crosses the line."

Thaiday admitted he'd generally come through his 10 years and 186 games in the NRL unscathed but made sure he didn't react to racial slurs.

The 29-year-old said he spoke to younger Aboriginal players about being cool-headed and careful to respond in a positive way.

"It is a tough thing to hear but you can't really react to those things these days," he said. "I think the best way to deal with it is to try and push it aside as much as possible.

"I would rather beat someone on the scoreboard and on the field than beat their face in."

The Broncos have launched their specially-designed indigenous jersey, displaying artwork by former NRL player and Aboriginal artist Sid Domic, which they will wear against Parramatta as part of the NRL's `Close the Gap' Round.

The Close The Gap initiative is aimed at correcting the imbalance between the life expectancy of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

"To finally get the chance to wear an indigenous jersey here at the Broncos is going to be a fantastic honour," said Thaiday.


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