Jack Wighton has broken ranks at the Raiders, slamming the lack of effort and consultation that went into the club’s jersey design for this weekend’s Indigenous round.
The 27-year-old, who is the only Indigenous Australia that plays first grade for Canberra and is a relative of Latrell Mitchell, has described the process as “lazy”.
“I’m a little bit disappointed how the club went about the jersey … I feel like we just ticked a box, no one got any input,” Wighton told Nine newspapers.
“We’ve got a lot of First Nations people of all different types – Samoans and Maoris and that, you know – and no one really had any say about the jersey.
“I think you can tell (there was no player input). We had a whole canvas and they just put a little design on the sleeve. We didn’t hear nothing about it until this week. No one came to us for any ideas.
“In previous years we’ve had a lot to do with it and the club has run things past us but I felt like they got lazy this year.”
“I just feel like we ticked a box,” Wighton added. “It’s terrible. I’m filthy. It’s the one round to share culture, you know what I mean, to get our artwork and stories out there, and I feel like we’ve put a pretty poor effort in, if I’m to be honest.”
Jack Wighton is disappointed at the lack of effort that went into this jersey.Source:Supplied
Some fans agreed with Wighton. The most liked comment on a photo of the jersey shared by Canberra on Instagram read: “The poorest excuse for an Indigenous jersey I have ever seen.”
The wife of star forward Josh Papalii, who is of Samoan descent, also questioned the lack of input from players. “Just out of curiosity, were any of the indigenous players actually involved in the design process?” she wrote.
But Bailey Simonsson, who plays as a winger for Canberra, appeared to give his tick of approval, responding with the OK emoji.
The Raiders are yet to comment on the furore.
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The NRL’s Indigenous Round aims to highlight social issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
This year’s round, which runs from Thursday to Sunday alongside National Reconciliation Week, carries the theme: “In this together.”
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