League Express mailbag taster – Monday 7th September

Martyn Sadler mentioning Lionel Morgan as the first indigenous player in any sport to be selected for Australia (Talking Rugby League, 31 August) certainly struck a harmonious and nostalgic chord for the non-blinkered, non-hypercritical, naturally anti-racist folk of my generation.
It added fuel also to my recommendation, in concert with fellow-minded pals, that ‘Black Lives Matter’ should be binned or put into the nearest charity shop. Rugby League, since its outset, has been the greatest flag bearer for racial equality, harmony and inclusion in UK sport.
Why therefore, after well over a century as the supreme example of colour equality in sport, is the present Rugby Football League allowing the game’s hitherto healthy reputation to be dragged through the mire of current political point-scoring hypocrisy?
Biggest amongst the noises of ‘Black Lives Matter’ hypocrites appears to be the tax exile, Louis Hamilton, who drives for and advertises the same firm as structured much of the technology and equipment in support of Hitler’s Nazi regime, whilst also happily competing to boost the financial coffers and cosmetic image of countries such as Saudi Arabia, where the human rights record is appalling.
I have yet to note any of these knee-bending pontificators doing anything positive to help black lives.
It is sad that, after all the genuine good Rugby League has done over many years regarding racial equality, the present-day administration has allowed it to plummet into a political scrum down.
My participation in the North of England and Scottish summertime sports meetings brought me into friendship with Clive Sullivan and, at one such event at Wakefield Trinity in 1972, with the reigning Olympic 200-metre champion Tommy Smith, who was also competing and was eternally famous for his rostrum Black Power salute. Noting Clive Sullivan’s ethnic features, Tommy asked if he had encountered any racist problems.
Sullivan, himself on the threshold of becoming a World Cup winning captain and the first black player to captain his country in any sport, smilingly replied along the lines of Rugby League being “one big happy family.”
Let us try to keep it that way!
Roger Ingham, Skipton

I have an issue with last week’s Readers Poll criticising the Rugby Football League, in that all the offered options were to some degree in favour of political slogans and gestures at Rugby League matches.
Where was the option, “Slogans and gestures in support of political pressure groups have no place at sporting events, and should not have been allowed in the first place?”
An opinion poll should canvass ALL opinions, not just those deemed acceptable by the ’Thought and Speech Police’. I was surprised to see it because, in the first two weeks after this issue arose League Express seemed to be of the same opinion, saying you hoped we had seen the last of it.
That aside, thanks for keeping going throughout the summer with very little to report on. It helps to keep us sane.
P Tyson, Wigton

I would like to thank the editor of League Express, and the Mailbag, for continuing to publish all through the recent lockdown. We look forward to reading the paper every Monday.
Like Mike Tudor (Mailbag, 10th August) and Bill Anderson (Mailbag, 24th August), I also object strongly to the indiscriminate, blanket guilt currently being thrown over our very tolerant society.
Mr Anderson perfectly described what is happening, and, as Mr Tudor explained, BLM is a political movement. Do our players taking the knee actually know what that movement stands for?
Do they know that, despite 34,000 Brits having given BLM in excess of £1 million, that movement will not become a registered charity because, according to BLM UK, “A charity structure would not allow us the freedom and flexibility to do our political work in the ways we wish to do it.”
Do our players know that the BLM movement wants to close prisons and detention centres, dismantle the police, get rid of borders, and that (among other things) they condemn ‘stop and search’? Why are we not celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion on stadium banners?
The Wakefield club is right; it should be `about people, not politics’.
Elaine Haller, Wickersley