This week marks the first Race Equality Week in the UK. It’s a country-wide initiative, where companies address the obstacles facing race equality in the workplace. On Tuesday the RFL took a huge step towards achieving this, with the launch of a new inclusion board, and Huddersfield forward Michael Lawrence was selected to spearhead it.
“I think it’s a massive step,” Lawrence said. “I think for Rugby League to now have its own initiative and plan going forward, I think it’s a great thing for the sport and it can only be a positive. It definitely means a lot. Obviously, the situation and the issues that arose last year, were very personal and something I could really relate to, so I wanted to make sure that I didn’t just start the process I wanted to see it through and hopefully be part of some actual change.”
“When we started to do the Black Lives Matter protests and taking the knee, there was a lot of confusion between players and fans and obviously with the ties to the political groups, so we wanted to pull away from that and create Rugby League’s own identity and own initiative and that’s how we came up with Tackle It,” he added.
“I believe the sport can become more diverse. There’s all these different communities in the heartland of Rugby League and I believe rugby league can do more in those communities to draw those different fan bases to the sport and it would make it grow and become even bigger,” Lawrence continued. “The stuff that’s been done with PDRL, and the women’s game is getting even stronger and obviously the World Cup with all three tournaments happening at the same time, I would say it’s inclusive.”