10 Jun 2020

Hurricanes co-captain gives his support of Black Lives Matter movement

5:22 am on 10 June 2020

All Blacks and Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara has spoken out about his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

TJ Perenara of the Hurricanes

Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara supports Black Lives Matter. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019 www.photosport.nz

It's not the first time the 64 cap All Black has made his voice be heard on social issues.

Perenara supported the Ihumātao protests last year and also encouraged the inclusion of gay rugby players.

Ahead of the Hurricanes opening Super Rugby Aotearoa game against the Blues on Sunday, Perenara was unequivocal in his stance on Black Lives Matter.

"For a big part there is a lot of positive things I think that is happening in the world and then there is a lot of negative things that both individuals and groups are doing in this space. I'll make a stand that I firmly stand with Black Lives Matter, I stand with the people who are being affected by it as well."

Perenara said people in New Zealand saw what has happened overseas and have responded.

"I can't speak for everyone, but I think some people have taken some responsibility and I think it is good.

"I don't think it is isolated to America, I think it's a problem we have in all of the world, including our own country, so for us to see people rallying and getting behind and standing with Black Lives Matter I think is a really important thing for us to do."

TJ Perenara leads the All Blacks haka.

TJ Perenara often speaks out on social issues. Photo: Photosport

Perenara said he understood not everyone would share his views but that would not stop him raising the issue.

"At the least it is making people have a conversation, even if people disagree with Black Lives Matter there is conversation about it and people are getting more and more informed, even if they don't want to and even if they don't want to be a part of that conversation, the conversation is happening all around them so they can't help but hear it."

Sports stars across the world spoke out about Black Lives Matter.

A survey by Axios News agency found that 118 of 123 teams across US professional baseball, basketball, ice hockey and football have issued some kind of statement condemning the killing of George Floyd.

That's 96 percent of teams in the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB.

The NFL said late last week it was "wrong" not listening to NFL players earlier on the issues of racism and oppression of black Americans.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Its commissioner Roger Goodell tweeted a video last week saying it condemned racism.

"We the National Football League believe Black Lives Matter, I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much needed change in this country," Goodell said.

England cricketer Jofra Archer, who was verbally abused during the tour to New Zealand, said he was glad the Black Lives Matter campaign was standing up.

And he said he was glad that he had spoken out about the abuse from someone in the crowd at Mount Maunganui's Bay Oval.

A 28-year-old Auckland man was banned from any New Zealand cricket fixtures for two years.

Raheem Sterling of Manchester City.

Raheem Sterling. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

England and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling said the protests were a start but protesting alone would not change a country.

Black players need more representation in the hierarchy of sport, Sterling told the BBC.

"I think there's something like 500 players in the Premier League and only a third of them are black, and we have no representation of us in the hierarchy, no representation of us in coaching staff, there's not a lot of faces we can relate to and have conversations with and I do think with these protests that are going on it's all well and good just talking but this time we need to conversations to spark debates but just debates because we have done a lot of talking but to start implementing change."