Vegan Athletes

Brisbane Broncos: now the anti-vegan backlash

Coach issues strongly worded statement valuing club's meat suppliers

Well, it was swift and unequivocal. The Brisbane Broncos are definitely not putting any stamp of approval towards any official move towards the team adopting a predominantly vegan lifestyle and diet. 

In what has been described in various media reports including as a “bizarre statement” the rugby league club has sought to clarify its position on nutrition for the rugby league team. 

This follows on from news reports that club captain Darius Boyd had become another vegan athlete after being impressed by the Game Changers Documentary. In his newfound enthusiasm for the benefits he expects to gain on a personal level from his plant-based diet, he encouraged his teammates to follow suit. In clearly light-hearted comments from some teammates, it was clear that some of them were adopting an “over my dead body approach” to this suggestion. 

Boyd also encouraged this coach, Anthony Seibold, to watch the documentary. 

It was very clear that this was a personal initiative and not one that came from the club itself. 

Nevertheless, the club felt it necessary to inform the world that all the news-driven reports about this had nothing to do with the management. As a result, Anthony Seibold issued a very strongly worded statement on Thursday to clarify the matter. 

“High-quality meat suppliers that we value enormously”

“We do not endorse or use a diet of this type in our program, and we will not be adopting any approach similar to this kind of diet,” he said.

“The Broncos have full-time dietary staff whose important function is to monitor what the players eat, as it is vitally important to our training and development program.

“We also have some high-quality meat suppliers that we value enormously as part of our program.

“If individuals choose this approach that is totally fine for them to make that choice, just as it is if someone gave up a type of food because of religious or ethical beliefs.

“But any suggestion the club would be embarking on a vegan-type approach to player nutrition would be totally incorrect.”

It is the statement that we have high-quality meat suppliers whom they value enormously that rather indicates that there may have been some strong arm twisting in the background. The meat industry is very touchy about the vegan trend, as well it might be. 

An independent Think Tank RethinkX believes that the beef industry, as well as the dairy industry, will be effectively bankrupt by 2030.

In Britain, the National Farmers Union reacted instantly to a Tesco’s television advertisement for plant-based sausages by complaining about the language in the advertisement. The NFU claimed that a little girl saying “Daddy, I don’t want to eat animals anymore” actually “demonised meat”

The ensuing furore showed the strength of feeling behind the differing opinions.  

As plant-based diets, especially amongst athletes, become more mainstream expect more backlashes specifically expressing a desire not to offend the meat industry.  

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Nicholas Orosz

Nicholas is a former City solicitor and Cambridge graduate. He has a long-standing interest in health & nutrition, the environmental movement, green politics & digital publishing. He has always loved crafting words. His transition to a vegan perspective has been gradual and an ongoing process of self-discovery. Contact:
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