Essendon Football Club has become the latest sporting body to call for the Australia Day public holiday date to change.
Last week, Cricket Australia decided to omit references to Australia Day from Tuesday’s three Big Bash League fixtures.
The public holiday matches have been spruiked as “January 26” games after consultation with Indigenous leaders.
It was a decision which faced plenty of backlash, including from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who called it “pretty ordinary”.
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But on Tuesday morning, Essendon released a statement suggesting the public holiday should move away from January 26.
“We at Essendon Football Club acknowledge that today is a day of sadness and pain for Indigenous peoples,” the statement read.
“We are committed to being a culturally safe and inclusive place where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples want to play, work and support. We value our strong connection with Indigenous Australia and we are committed to reconciliation and celebration the survival of the oldest living culture on earth. We look forward to a time when all Australians can enjoy a day of national celebration together.”
The Bombers are a partner of The Long Walk, an organisation set up by former club champion Michael Long which supports the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Several other AFL clubs acknowledged Indigenous Australians on Tuesday morning as “Invasion Day” protests took place across the country.
Richmond Football Club posted on Twitter: “We at Richmond Football Club acknowledge today is a day of sadness for many of us.
“We place enormous value on our connection with Indigenous Australia.
“We stand united in our commitment to reconciliation and celebrating the survival of the world’s oldest living culture.”
St Kilda Football Club wrote: “Always was, always will be.
“Today, we stand beside our Indigenous brothers and sisters, because this isn’t about division.
It’s about acknowledging our past, and working towards a better future, together.”
On Tuesday morning, Sydney Swans great Judge Bolton revealed he turned down an offer to become an Australia Day Ambassador.
“Extremely grateful for the invitation to become an Australia Day Ambassador,” Bolton tweeted.
“However, it is time to change the date.”