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Johnson against 'Swing Low' ban but Offiah welcomes review

Former dual-code international Martin Offiah is hopeful a review by the RFU into the historical c...
Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

16.27 19 Jun 2020


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Johnson against 'Swing Low' ba...

Johnson against 'Swing Low' ban but Offiah welcomes review

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Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

16.27 19 Jun 2020


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Former dual-code international Martin Offiah is hopeful a review by the RFU into the historical context of 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' can help generations of supporters have a "stronger affinity" with BAME players.

The song has become an anthem of English rugby over many decades, but issues over its links with slavery have been highlighted in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.

The RFU say they are "reviewing its historical context and our role in educating fans to make informed decisions".

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Legendary England hooker Brian Moore says he would welcome the song vanishing into the ether.

"It can go for me; I hate it", he tweeted.

Moore added, "The world has moved on and, rightly, things that were normal then should not necessarily be normal now."

Martin Offiah's nickname as a player was 'Chariots', but as a pun on Chariots Of Fire rather than a connection to the song.

"I don't think the song needs to be banned", the former Wigan winger told Sky Sports.

"I just think we are singing it with an enlightened view. Maybe we will have a stronger affinity with the BAME players who are playing the game on the field.

"With knowledge and education only good things can come off the back of that."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he "certainly didn't think there should be any sort of prohibition" to singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot.

Earlier this week in The Guardian, Afua Hirsch wrote of the Conservative government's "war on woke".

Hirsch claims Downing Street officials want to use the "war on woke" to defuse calls for racial justice.

"Frankly I think what people need to do is focus less on the symbols of discrimination... all these issues that people are now raising to do with statues and songs and so on - I can see why they're very emotive, I understand that," Johnson said on Friday.

"But what I want to focus on is the substance of the issue."

But as Moore pointes out on Twitter, Swing Low Sweet Chariot was only sung by English rugby fans: "Because of the rude gestures that went with it and without any thought of its origins."

Moore concluded, "Had today's context be know then it might not have been sung."


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Boris Johnson Brian Moore England Martin Offiah Rfu Swing Low Sweet Chariot War On Woke

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