3 Jun 2020

ABs duo join fight against racism

5:02 pm on 3 June 2020

All Blacks are joining those around the world in taking a public stand against racism amidst ongoing rioting in the US.

Codie Taylor playing against the Pumas in Nelson.

Codie Taylor playing against the Pumas in Nelson. Photo: Photosport

Both hooker Codie Taylor and first-five Josh Ioane posted the "black square" image to their social media accounts on Wednesday, showing their support in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last week.

Taylor wanted to use his standing as an All Blacks to raise awareness about racism, which he said was everywhere.

"Racism isn't just in America, it's all around the world.

"I think it's awesome people, public figures, are really trying to step out and make it more of an awareness so that we can change. I am of Maori descent, but am also of Pakeha descent, so am in the middle in a sense.

"I know a lot of people do struggle with it but it's pretty moving to see that people want change. I think the more we can make people aware hopefully that can happen."

Taylor and Ioane were the latest among a raft of athletes making public statements of solidarity with the black community.

New Zealand mixed martial artist and UFC champion Israel Adesanya expressed his anger at the Black Lives Matter protest in Auckland on Monday, while many sports stars in the US had shown their support.

Basketball stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes and golfer Tiger Woods have all called for change.

Some major teams had also made their support public, including EPL football clubs Liverpool and Chelsea.

Taylor, though, indicated the Crusaders weren't planning any joint stand themselves.

"Players have an individual right to express the way they feel on social media platforms but as a team we just want to focus on playing good rugby.

"We've been under the limelight for the last 18 months with what's gone on down here in Christchurch, so we definitely support everything that's going on and we want to see change.

"But, in terms of rugby, we just want to play footy."