NRL Grand Final Same Love Controversy

NRL Grand Final Same Love Controversy

By Erin Archer


The NRL Grand Final is just days away and while there should be controversy surrounding who will and who won’t be playing, discussions are instead focused on what the headline act will be singing.

American rapper Macklemore is a well known marriage equality advocate, and he will be performing four songs at the start of the game, one of which will include LGBTI+ anthem “Same Love”.

When released in 2013, the song resonated through the LGBTI+ community and reiterated the growing support that marriage equality was gaining in the United States, which formally legalised same sex marriage in 2015.


The main opposition to Macklemore performing the pro-gay song stems from Tony Wall, a former NRL player, who set up a petition to “Take LGBTIQ politics out of the NRL.”

In the petition description he revealed it would be difficult to watch the NRL Grand Final with his family, because it would be too heavily politicised and demands the league reconsider its political position.

This all comes as people around Australia are currently taking part in the Federal Government’s Marriage Law Postal Survey, which will decide whether the government will review the issue of same sex marriage in the country.

The NRL, along with other prominent Australian sporting leagues, recently publicly threw down their support for the same sex marriage campaign.

However Mr Wall who is a “No Voter”, said other loyal NRL fans who are also “No Voters” wouldn’t be comfortable with the league’s decision to back the “Yes” campaign.

“I am really concerned about a recent decision on behalf of the NRL to back the Yes campaign for the Marriage Law Postal Survey.” He wrote in the petition.

The Coalition for Marriage is the official “No” campaign vehicle and they have jumped on the chance to support the petition, and have demanded NRL boss Todd Greenberg to ban Macklemore from performing the song.

In a statement, a Coalition for Marriage spokesman David Goodwin said “Australian sports fans just want to watch the footy without being force-fed LGBTIQ messages at the game.”

One politician who has made his views on same sex marriage very clear, is Tony Abbott, who on Wednesday backed the ban via Twitter.



The Attorney General George Brandis has argued against Mr Abbott on this topic, and said that it was not unusual for the NRL to headline particular acts that have topped the charts in recent years, and has described Mr Abbotts comments as “bizarre.”

“I thought Mr Abbott believed in freedom of speech.” Mr Brandis told ABC News Breakfast.

Former politician Larissa Waters has also voiced her concern about the controversy and called Mr Abbott’s comments ridiculous, telling Sky News that while the former prime minister is a fierce advocate for free speech, he also wants to stop a song from being sung at a sports game.

“I hope he’s feeling uncomfortable about changing his philosophy, because I thought he was meant to be an advocate for free speech – perhaps it’s only free speech when it suits him.” She said.

National Party senator Bridget McKenzie also spoke to Sky News on the matter, and said the song is more than just a same sex marriage anthem.

Todd Greenberg, the NRL CEO said the league is standing firm in their decision to allow Macklemore to perform “Same Love”, reiterating the code’s support for same sex marriage and pointing out that the league was an all inclusive game.

While agreeing that the song could be seen as a political act, he told 2GB Radio it will be one of four songs the artist is set to perform on the night, and that “it would be a little hypocritical for us to have inclusiveness as one of our values and not actually deliver on it.”

Meanwhile, Macklemore has also voiced his opinion on his involvement in the controversy, when he spoke on a US radio show on Thursday and said he had received tweets from “angry old white dudes in Australia”.

The controversy has seemed to make the rapper more determined to stand up in what he believes in, after he stated he will now go harder during the performance.


About author

earche04 72 posts

Erin joined the NRN team straight after graduating from a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University in 2016.

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