England rugby star Maro Itoje has claimed he will ‘never’ sing ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ again. Find out why here…
The second-row player, who is of Nigerian descent, discussed the anthem – which has been performed at England matches since 1987 – when speaking to L’Equipe.
Itoje said he will refrain from singing the song because of its ‘origins in American slavery’.
Hear the anthem the rugby star will no longer sing below…
He reportedly told the outlet: “I’m not going to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do but, personally, I won’t sing this song again.
“I sang it before when I was naive and didn’t know its origins but, knowing now the context in the creation of ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,’ it’s not an anthem that I’m going to repeat anymore.”
It’s believed the anthem was put under review by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), which later released a statement saying it wouldn’t be banned.
The RFU said: “The RFU has stated it will not ban ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ as it has a long-held place in rugby history.
“However, the Union will use its social media and event audiences to proactively educate fans on the history and provenance of the song as well as providing platforms for diverse voices across the game.”
This isn’t the first that Itoje has spoken out against the anthem.
In a 2020 interview with the Daily Mail, he said it made him feel ‘uncomfortable,’ adding: “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think anyone at Twickenham is singing it with malicious intent, but the background of that song is complicated.”
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