Oscar-winning director Spike Lee, who is visiting Sydney as part of the Vivid festival, has offered his support to Indigenous Australian players who choose to remain silent during the national anthem at next week’s State Of Origin clash.

Queensland‘s Will Chambers has said that he will join NSW players Cody Walker and Josh Addo-Carr in boycotting ‘Advance Australia Fair‘ at game one, saying that the song is not representative of Indigenous people.

Spike Lee, who won an Academy Award this year for BlacKkKlansman, praised the players for their decision, saying “more power to them” when told about the protest, and adding that sport is important as a force for social change.

“I think changes happen first in sports,” he said yesterday, according to SBS News reports. “Sports has, I feel, always been a vehicle to move society forward.”

Earlier this year, when accepting the first Academy Award of his decades-long directing career, Spike Lee gave a passionate speech, in which he said:

“Before the world tonight, I give praise to our ancestors who have built this country into what it is today along with the genocide of its native people. We all connect with our ancestors. We will have love and wisdom regained, we will regain our humanity. It will be a powerful moment. The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there.”

Spike Lee gave a talk about his life, his body of work and his career in film last night as part of Vivid Ideas.

Image: Getty Images / Jaimi Chisholm