Anthony Mundine retires from boxing and apologises for infamous 9/11 remarks
Anthony Mundine has used his retirement announcement to apologise for his “dumb” and hurtful remarks about the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US.
One of Australia’s most polarising athletes, Mundine’s claim in October 2001 that “America’s brought it upon themselves” haunted him for the rest of his boxing career.
“They call it an act of terrorism but, if you can understand religion and our way of life, it’s not about terrorism. It’s about fighting for God’s law, and America’s brought it upon themselves,” Mundine said 20 years ago.
But the 45-year-old on Wednesday said he regretted the controversial comments and revealed he even fled the country to escape the fierce backlash.
“My first world title shot in Germany, I left early. I left like a month early to go to Germany because that was the time of the 9/11 statements that I came up with,” Mundine told a large gathering in Sydney. “Raw [comments] where [a] lot of the media portrayed me to be for the killings.
“I want to put that on record; there was no way for the killings. Taking one human life is like taking the whole of humanity to me. And I feel like I was crucified for that, probably rightly so, and I said it raw and pretty dumb at the time.”
Mundine, a three-time world champion in three different weight divisions and former rugby league premiership winner and NSW State of Origin star, also apologised for offending anyone else during his 30-year sporting career.
“If I offended anybody in my career, honestly, I’m sincerely sorry,” he said. “I was brash. It was the character I was when I was younger. I have sort of evolved and matured over the years. I’m a different man today and I want to show you the real ‘Choc’. The real me is very humble, kind and giving.”
A long-time ambassador for the Indigenous community, in retirement Mundine plans to continue creating employment pathways for Aboriginal youth through his Mundine Gosh Management business. He also wants to help Indigenous people with mental health.