A two-part ‘Australian Story’ featuring Brumbies rugby union player and ex-Wallabies captain David Pocock, his roots in Zimbabwe, and his life since arriving in Australia, premieres tonight. But first we wanted to list the reasons as to why we already love him, and why you probably should too.
By Rebecca Shaw
Being a good ally to different groups of people in the right way can be a difficult line to toe, and it’s one that many people struggle with. For this reason, if you had told me told me a few years ago that one of the best examples of a good ally to women, feminism, and queer people in 2016 would be a professional rugby union player, I probably would have laughed in your face.
That is exactly what has happened with the ascent of David Pocock. Along the way he has also impressed with his activism, charity, and all-round perfect man vibe.
At the end of 2014, along with his equally impressive partner Emma Pocock, David drove for eight hours from Canberra to Narrabri to join the Leard Blockade, aimed to disturb the development of the Whitehaven coal mine at Maules Creek. They participated in the peaceful protest, chaining themselves to a digger, before being subsequently arrested along with the rest of the group.
He was quoted as saying:
“I believe it’s time for direct action on climate change, standing together as ordinary Australians to take control of our shared future.”
Captain Planet, he’s our hero.
Ally to female athletes
What differentiates David Pocock from others (and particularly other men in sport) who try to support female athletes is the consistency and meaningfulness of his engagement. He doesn’t just show tangential support by sending out one tweet a year to a women’s sport team that is getting mainstream coverage to prove something. He demonstrates it by living it – attending games, sending out messages on social media regularly, talking about his favourite athletes, sharing articles about sexism in sport, and genuinely being an excited fan in public, setting a good example for everyone.
He even posts instagrams of himself working out casually wearing his Canberra United W-League team’s jersey.
Feminist David Pocock
“It’s not really for me to be judging the feminist movement, but I’m interested in the idea of challenging patriarchy.”
If you were wondering if David and Emma Pocock adorably raise chickens, adorably give them fun pun names, and adorably use them to help turn scraps from their huge backyard vegetable garden into fertiliser – don’t worry, they do.
Knows his Miranda rights
One of my favourite internet moments of past year was seeing Miranda Devine ridicule David Pocock for waving his fingers in the air after scoring a try in a match for the Brumbies.
Unfortunately for Miranda, turns out the gesture was yet another moment of ‘Delightful David’ rearing its head, as he (possibly too) politely informed her the gesture was for actually for a friend.
Ouch! Miranda, you have the right to remain silent.
The non-profit organisation he co-created assists communities in Zimbabwe to become self-sufficient.
David Pocock plays a professional sport with a male-dominated culture that does not have a history of being welcoming to the LGBTI community. Despite this, he not only talks the talk on homophobia, but also puts himself out there to take action against it.
This was evident last year when, playing for the Brumbies, he stopped the game and made the referee addresstwo incidents of homophobic slurs used by the Waratahs, saying afterward:
“As players, we’ve said the Brumbies aren’t going to tolerate any homophobic slurs, I just made that clear to the referee that it’s unacceptable. You can be the toughest man in the world, but it’s got nothing to do with using that sort of language.”
He is also an ardent and outspoken advocate for marriage equality, for example speaking out on Q&A:
“How can we be challenging homophobia when we’re saying, ‘You’re equal to me but you’re separate’.”
But he isn’t all talk in this area either, with he and partner Emma deciding not to get legally married until Australia’s laws are changed and same-sex couples can.