Anthony Mundine reckons he is misunderstood.
He is really quite humble.
He is not trying to divide Australia, but unite and educate it.
He does not court controversy, just speaks his mind.
‘‘I’m trying to better Australia. I’m not trying to bring Australia back,’’ Mundine said yesterday.
The boxer wants to focus on his grudge bout against compatriot Danny Green on Friday night in Adelaide.
‘‘I don’t think he has got the qualities I have, the humbleness — I know that might shock you media people, the way I’m portrayed,’’ Mundine said.
‘‘I’m cocky as far as I need to be in the ring and entertaining people ... but as far as a human being and gentleman, I have been taught to be very polite and very humble.’’
But instead of talking about the fight, Mundine is fending questions about the national anthem.
He won’t stand for it. Literally. And figuratively.
Repeating his past objections to Advance Australia Fair, Mundine won’t stand for the anthem before the fight.
‘‘I am a man that stands against wrong and I think that is a big wrong in our country,’’ he said.
‘‘And I can’t stand for something that I don’t believe in.’’
Mundine said the anthem was the theme song for the divisive White Australia policy, and unjust to him and his fellow indigenous population.
‘‘I’m about uniting people together, uniting the country together,’’ he said.
‘‘Do your research on the anthem, do your research on ‘advance, we’re young, we’re free’. We are far from young. And a lot of us ain’t free.
‘‘Advance Australia Fair, you speak to your historians and educated college professors, it’s there as in white fair, not in fair go.’’
For indigenous relations to move forward — ‘‘to unite and try and live in better harmony’’ — Mundine said the anthem must change.
‘‘The flagship for the country is the flag and the anthem,’’ he said.
‘‘They are the iconic symbols. So let’s start by changing them and bringing the first-nation people, the traditional owners, with us.
‘‘I would like to see it changed for the better for Australian society and for the future generations.’’
His rival Green said the controversy was not his worry.
‘‘I’m not invested in Anthony Mundine enough to care what he says,’’ Green said.
‘‘I have been raised to be very open-minded.
‘‘And Choc (Mundine) is an indigenous Australian ... if he feels so passionate and strongly about that, then so be it. That is his prerogative and that is his opinion and that is his choice.
‘‘I will be standing for the anthem and I will be singing the national anthem.’’