Lydia Williams, Patty Mills and Scott Sio add voices to 'We Got You' racism campaign

Speak up: Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams is adding her voice to the fight against racism. Picture: Supplied
Speak up: Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams is adding her voice to the fight against racism. Picture: Supplied

Some of Australia's top athletes have rallied together in an attempt to eliminate racism in sport, joining forces to share their stories and educate grassroots and elite participants about the impacts of discrimination.

ACT Brumbies leader Scott Sio and Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams will join AFL, NRL, cricket, netball and basketballers in an online session on Wednesday to discuss a way forward for the future.

Canberra basketball star Patty Mills added more weight to the conversation on Tuesday, backing the "We Got You" initiative and saying small gestures can have a massive impact on the issue.

Athletes around the world have been vocal about their support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Australian Opals are pushing for the Aboriginal flag to be permanently displayed on their uniform.

The Opals launched a five-minute video calling for Australians to "rise up" against racial injustice last week, while Mills has been a long-time advocate for Australian basketball doing more to recognise Indigenous history.

"When allies who stand up and speak out against racism, although a small gesture, this is one of many actions that have a tremendous impact on the person being targeted because they feel the support," Mills said.

"It can also make whoever racially vilifies that person reconsider their own behaviour. I believe if everyone can make small changes in this space, that could have a massive impact ... I would like to say thank you - to all athletes of the majority who are paving the way with your leadership and standing in the front lines to put an end to racism within sport."

Mills also reacted to a social media post from Collingwood ruckman Mason Cox this week after the Magpies bigman called out a fan for using derogatory language when referring to Travis Varcoe.

"I'm happy to take criticism," Cox said. "Not the first, won't be the last but to say this about a brother is disgraceful. Look around you. There is no excuse. Listen, learn and be better. Educate yourself because this is not OK."

Mills has been an Indigenous ambassador in the world's best basketball league for the past decade, sharing the story of his journey and that of his parents Benny and Yvonne.

He has called out racism, supported others, including Adam Goodes, who have endured it and spoken passionately to NBA fans about Aboriginal history and what it means to him.

Now he is being joined by a cross-section of athletes who are adding their support to pledge solidarity against racism and being the voice for change.

The "We Got You" campaign is being led by athletes and is aimed at putting the spotlight on incidents they face at all levels of competition.

It offers a "what you can do" section to give people tools to call out racism. "Put your arm around them and say 'we got you'," the document says. "Call it out. Let them know it's not OK ... We won't stop. Your teammates will continue to fight for you."

Canberra junior Williams and Brumbies prop Sio will be joined by Patrick Dangerfield, Daly Cherry-Evans, NBA star Joe Ingles and cricketer Peter Siddle among others.

"As a proud Noongar woman, the need for all athletes to unite and work together to take necessary steps to end racism in sport is so very important." Williams said.

"To see these particular athletes come together and make this kind of a commitment towards supporting the minority at all levels of sports is empowering and gives me hope that change can happen. I am in full support of this initiative and the impact of positivity it will have over Australia."

Dangerfield said: "We are asking our fellow athletes across all sports in Australia to make a commitment of support by working together with their teammates to change the sporting environment throughout all sports by eliminating racism at all levels - starting today."

The Brumbies implemented their reconciliation action plan two years ago to give the organisation a framework to support a national reconciliation movement. The club also hosted its first Pasifika round last year to recognise the diverse cultures within their team.

This story Athletes join forces to eliminate racism in sport first appeared on The Canberra Times.