Australian footballer responds to accusations of hypocrisy over human rights protest
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Socceroos midfielder Jackson Irvine has responded to accusations of hypocrisy after the Australian national team publicly spoke out against the World Cup in Qatar.
A few weeks back, a bunch of players came together to deliver a strong message condemning Qatar for its human rights abuses and stance on the LGBTQIA+ community.
The powerful video racked up millions of views online with many people heaping praise on the Socceroos – but not everyone was buying it.
With Australia still sending a team to the tournament, allegations of hypocrisy soon came to the surface with the likes of Piers Morgan calling the message 'virtue-signalling and 'irritating' before urging the players to 'shut up and play sport'.
On top of that, some sections of fans have accused the Australian team of double-standards by not calling out human rights issues Down Under, which included the mistreatment of the Indigenous population.
Now Irvine has spoken out on the matter, saying: “I hope it’s something as a team we do continue to talk about. I’ve commented in the past on problems we have at home, as much as the issues we’ve talked about here.
“Us as players and being part of this tournament we’re so intrinsically linked to these issues at this time, which is why we felt it was (important).
“People talk about the hypocrisy of these issues but not talking about ones that happen at home.
“I hope that’s something we continue to explore in the future as part of our growth as a team and as individuals. That’s something to look at moving forward.”
Lessons learnt against the World Champs. All focus on Saturday with everything to play for! Special night playing my 50th game for this great team 💛💚 @Socceroos pic.twitter.com/VJHKIyXUvw— Jackson Irvine (@jacksonirvine_) November 23, 2022
The issue of the 'OneLove' armband, designed to drive inclusivity, has been a hot topic on Qatar.
Harry Kane and a number of captains made headlines when it was confirmed they would not wear the rainbow armband at the World Cup over fears of receiving yellow cards from referees.
Germany's entire squad recently protested the move by covering their mouths for their team photograph ahead of their opening clash.
“I can’t speak for other countries and the decisions they make,” Irvine said on the matter.
“What they feel is the right way to protest any kind of social injustice they feel is being done.
“The One Love armband is an interesting discussion in itself, because the conversations I’ve had with people from the LGBTQI+ community have already described that messaging as vague and lacking a real statement in what it’s trying to achieve as well.
“It’s a tough one to dissect, obviously it’s been changing by the day. Changes through regulation, and then changes through decisions that teams have made and players have made.
“It’s tough to react when things change so quickly for those players and those teams.
“But when all is said and done there’ll be a time to really dissect how those messages have gone out and the way they chose to do it.
“... All I can do is speak from our point of view and obviously say how proud I am of our squad and the clear position we took coming into this tournament
“There was no possibility to have that change thrown on us at a late stage. From our perspective that’s why we chose to do that and the timing in which we did it as well.”
Featured Image Credit: Alamy/YouTube/Football Australia/KEEPUP
Topics: Australia, Football, Football World Cup, Qatar