Conservative politicians have been finding new and creative ways to freak out over sports and social issues over the last few months — even the ones who aren’t from the US.
As if Donald Trump’s inflammatory tweets about NFL players’ anti-police brutality protests weren’t bad enough, Australia’s former Prime Minister Tony Abbott took to Twitter himself to address a social storm brewing over Seattle rapper Macklemore’s plans to perform at the country’s upcoming National Rugby League grand final — more specifically, the rapper’s plan to perform “Same Love.”
Australians are in the middle of a national survey vote on legalizing gay marriage. Current leader Malcolm Turnbull pushed the vote as he himself is a supporter of the idea. However, Australian conservatives, led by Abbott, are arguing that Macklemore is injecting politics into sports, where they don’t belong. According to a quote from SB Nation’s primer:
The NRL Grand Final will fall on Oct. 1, directly in the middle of this process — which is why Macklemore’s decision to play “Same Love” is coming under fire. To make matters more contentious, this year’s Grand Final is being played between the left-leaning city of Melbourne, and the rural, extremely-conservative North Queensland, meaning strong voices from both sides of the aisle have chosen the halftime performance as a battleground.
Meanwhile, The Coalition for Marriage, an organization urging a “no” vote, released a statement explaining exactly how they feel about it:
Australian sports fans just want to watch the footy without being force-fed LGBTIQ messages at the game. Sport is something that unites all Australians, so it is pretty bizarre that the NRL would choose to use its half-time entertainment to push a message which it knows millions of Australians disagree with.
Which sounds a lot like “stick to sports,” doesn’t it? Unfortunately, we know that doesn’t work; sports intersects with dozens of aspects of everyday life, because athletes are people, not just dots on a screen.
Macklemore’s response (from radio’s The Cruz Show)? “I’m getting a lot of tweets from angry old white dudes in Australia. I think there is a petition today to ban me from playing. (But) Imma go harder, Imma love.”