Dan Walsh, Staff Writer
From Italian skipper Anthony Minichiello to proud Kiwis Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sonny Bill Williams, new French recruit Rémi Casty to country NSW products James Maloney and Boyd Cordner, the Sydney Roosters embody the diverse multicultural fabric on which every NRL club is built.
With this in mind, the Roosters have launched a new community initiative, Roosters Against Racism aimed at "addressing racism and prejudice within the community, with a particular focus on the school and sporting environment."
Star back-rower and devout Muslim Williams, said while he had never encountered racism in his illustrious career, he was proud to be a role model and gave his full support to the club’s initiative.
“You always hear about things and I guess it’s always there or thereabouts, but nothing has ever come up directly for myself," Williams said.
“I know it’s a good cause and as Roosters we pride ourselves on backing up each other in those kind of situations, and racism isn’t any different.’’
The Roosters Against Racism program will see Roosters players talking at schools and sporting clubs throughout the Eastern Suburbs about the effect racism can have, and Roosters Chief Operating Officer Ted Helliar said the project would aim to draw on the club’s influence in the community.
“This program has been designed to… promote diversity and social cohesion; to teach the community that racism is not acceptable and to encourage anyone who is subjected to racial vilification – either by experience or by witnessing an act – to report it,” said Helliar.
The Roosters Against Racism program will initially be delivered in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and the City of Sydney to Year 5 school students, with plans to further expand the program over the next 12 months.