Anthony Mundine, 42, has been described as “the most polarising athlete in Australian sports history.”
Born in Sydney’s inner west to two Indigenous parents, Mundine excelled at rugby league, before being signed with the St. George Dragons at 18 years old. By 2000, Mundine was the highest paid player in the NRL, at which point he made the decision to leave rugby league, and pursue professional boxing – a sport his father had excelled at. Mundine believes his achievements across both sports qualifies him as Australia’s best all-round sportsman.
Perhaps his assessment isn’t far off.
It is, however, his comments outside the boxing ring that have attracted persistent criticism.
On Sunday night, nine Australian celebrities entered the South African jungle for the fourth season of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!.
It has since been announced that on Monday night, Mundine will be entering as an intruder. His inclusion in the cast has been met with some resistance, given some of his highly-contentious opinions over the last two decades.
These are the most significant controversies that have underpinned Mundine’s career.
October, 2001: September 11 comments.
In 1999, at 24 years old, Mundine converted to Islam.
Following the World Trade Centre attacks on September 11, 201, Mundine said, “They call it an act of terrorism, but if you can understand religion, and our [Islam] way of life, it’s not about terrorism. It’s about fighting for God’s law, and America’s brought it upon themselves.”
If Mundine starts bashing gays or offering distasteful takes on 9/11 I’m out. That’s not light entertainment or escapism. #imACelebrityAU
— Matthew Denby (@MrMattDenby) January 28, 2018
His comments made international headlines, making him incredibly unpopular during a 2012 trip to the United States.
After being ruthlessly heckled at Floyd Mayweather’s gym, Mundine issued a public apology, stating, “No good ever comes out of war, only misery. It exposes innocent lives to danger unnecessarily.