Wallabies legend Nick Farr-Jones has been criticised for urging the Aussie rugby team not to take a knee as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, warning it not to bring politics into sport.
Farr-Jones also said the majority of Australians would agree "all lives matter" and does not believe the country has a problem with racism.
The captain of the 1991 World Cup-winning Wallabies made his comments just a day after the Aussies unveiled a special Indigenous jersey to be worn against the All Blacks in the next Bledisloe Cup Test at the end of the month.
The Wallabies drew the first Bledisloe Test 16-16 but lost the second comprehensively, and Farr-Jones believes they risk alienating supporters by taking a public stand against racism.
"To take the risk of basically splitting the support the Wallabies are starting to earn through their gutsy performances in Wellington and Auckland — just don't do it guys, it's too risky," Farr-Jones told Ben Fordham on 2GB radio.
"You run the risk that a few (viewers) would just turn off. They don't want to see politics in national sport. That's a real risk.
"I think it could be divisive."
Sports teams and competitions around the world have taken a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Movement, which was sparked by the death of American man George Floyd in police custody earlier this year.
NRL and AFL players showed their support when their seasons resumed, it has happened in the English Premier League, while the England and West Indies cricket teams also took a knee during their Test series in the UK.
Farr-Jones recalled having a minute's silence before a Test in South Africa during apartheid but said Australia doesn't discriminate against people based on race or the colour of their skin.
"I don't think here in Australia that we have a major issue in relation to discrimination of coloured people," Farr-Jones told Fordham.
"Here in Australia I think if you surveyed your listeners, I think 99 per cent would agree that all lives matter. We don't have that issue. Let's not make it a political issue in a sporting event."
Farr-Jones added while it's ultimately up to the players if they want to take a knee, they should get the approval of the Rugby Australia board before following through with any protest.
"They can't just go and do this and risk the loss of all the support," Farr-Jones said.
"Over the decades we cherish the fact we've had some amazing Indigenous people in our teams, some amazing Polynesians and Fijian players.
"I think of the Ellas and how blessed I was to play alongside Mark in my early Tests … we've never had an issue. We all come together under that one jersey brilliantly."
Former Wallaby turned journalist Peter FitzSimons — a good friend of Farr-Jones — disagreed with his mate, as did plenty of others.
"I disagree with my friend Nick Farr-Jones on his warning to the Wallabies not to 'take a knee'," FitzSimons tweeted.
David Sigston called the remarks "cooked" and ABC sports reporter Catherine Murphy wrote: "Nick Farr-Jones says racism isn't a problem (probably isn't for him) … Just ONE DAY after the @wallabies launch their First Nations jersey."
In response to an article about Farr-Jones' stance, rugby writer Georgina Robinson said: "I look forward to the Wallabies making up their own minds about what is important to them and the people they represent."
Sports reporter Vince Rugari sarcastically tweeted: "Always good to see the terms 'all lives matter' and 'coloured people' used in very quick succession."
Radio presenter Matt Webber added, tongue in cheek: "Human rights are terrible for ratings."
Farr-Jones' opinion is in opposition to that of Wallabies winger Dane Haylett-Petty, who supported taking a knee when asked about it at the launch of the team's Indigenous jersey this week.
"It wasn't something the Wallabies squad discussed but I think it's great," Haylett-Petty said. "I think sport has an amazing opportunity to have a say and join conversations and a lot of sports have done that and it would be a great thing for us to do."
"I obviously can't speak for everyone but I think it would be a great show of support … I think that's probably a discussion to have as a group and we'd definitely consider it."