Jamaica looking for lasting legacy from World Cup appearance

Jamaica Rugby League team, who will be based in Leeds for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, officially supports Black Lives Matter with team members speaking at the peaceful protest in Leeds.

Dewsbury Rams and Jamaica player Jon Magrin and operations director and Rugby AM host Alex Simmons spoke at the event talking of the need for positive action to be taken and embedded in business, sport and education on the back of the global awareness generated from the BLM campaign.

Jamaica Rugby League will be working with their host city Leeds very closely to break down barriers in the sport and in the community and have already have very positive discussions with Black Lives Matter, Leeds Rhinos, Leeds City Council, Black Health Initiative, West Indian Carnival Leeds and the World Cup 2021 committee.

Captain Joe Brown said, “Being a black man and giving nearly 18 years of my life to Rugby league makes me and my family a very proud”

“Over the past month or so we have seen the BLM tackle the injustice of ethnic minorities across the world and myself and Jamaica RL believe that this is something we must support and put our voice to such a movement.”

“We know Rugby League holds such strong community values and we know Rugby League will do everything in its power to support the BLM and showcase the wonderful belief the sport has as being a community sport for every individual to take part in.”

“Going forward as a nation and organisation everyone at Jamaica RL knows we have to do more for ourselves but for all those young black kids that will be watching us play in our first world cup in 2021. We want to inspire a nation over here and back in Jamaica and we can do this by showing our unity in the face of adversity.”

“Big thing for myself is education and making the community understand the importance of the BLM and what it can change for us now but more importantly the next generation.”

Operations director Alex Simmons said, “I’d like to commend the RFL, Super League and the World Cup for not having a tokenistic approach to the Black Lives Matter movement. I work in diversity every day and it’s been great to see the sport own their lack of diversity and refreshing to hear their commitment to improving in all areas.” 

“It’s particularly great to see the commitment of Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves who both have initiatives underway to improve community engagement and take positive action to eradicate racism.”

“In the last week the conversations I’ve had with Sarah Jane-Grey, Ralph Rimmer, Jon Dutton, Rob Porteus, Karl Fitzpatrick and Phil Daly amongst others make me believe we have a fantastic set of people who want the sport to thrive and engage every community in the UK.”

“We held a great workshop last week discussing some of the issues the sport faces engaging the black community in particular, the second workshop will take place this week. All the Jamaica boys have been so supportive of the campaign and I’m a proud member of the Black Lives Matter Leeds team.”