Former prime minister Tony Abbott has supported calls to prevent US hip hop artist Macklemore from performing a song which promotes gay and lesbian rights.
The American singer is due to perform his song “Same Love” at the NRL Grand Final on Sunday, along with several other hits.
The track’s lyrics discusses LGBTQI rights and was recorded during the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Washington State in 2012.
However, former NRL player Tony Wall has written a petition to NRL boss Todd Greenberg to “take LGBTIQ politics out of the NRL”.
“It will be very difficult to watch the NRL Grand Final with my wife and five young children as the event will be heavily politicised with a LGBTIQ anthem taking centre stage,” he writes in the petition.
“My family and many other loyal NRL fans, who are No voters, will not feel comfortable watching the Grand Final when the NRL is imposing such a bold political stance on its fans while the issue is currently being voted on by the Australian people.”
Mr Abbott tweeted his support for the petition.
“Footy fans shouldn't be subjected to a politicised grand final. Sport is sport!” he said.
The NRL website lists Macklemore as the only half-time entertiainment during the Grand Final.
The Grammy winner will fly over from the US for the one-off performance.
No campaigners - The Coalition for Marriage - backed the petition as well.
“Australian sports fans just want to watch the footy without being force-fed LGBTIQ messages at the game,” spokesman, David Goodwin said in a statement.
“Sport is something that unites all Australians, so it is pretty bizarre that the NRL would choose to use its half-time entertainment to push a message which it knows millions of Australians disagree with.
Mr Greenberg said Macklemore would be playing four of his biggest hits including Same Love.
Speaking with 2GB Radio, he denied the NRL was making a political statement.
Mr Greenberg felt it would be hypocritical of the NRL to be promoting inclusivity while not delivering on it.
“We’re very comfortable with that, we’re an inclusive game and whilst everyone will stand for their own issues and make their own decisions, we’re very comfortable with where we sit,” he told the radio programme.
“We’ve made our position pretty clear – I don’t expect everyone to agree on that.”