US RAPPER Macklemore has responded to the controversy over his performance at the NRL Grand Final, saying he has received hate from "angry, old white dudes".
Macklemore, who will perform at the NRL Grand Final at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Sunday, is getting flak on two fronts.
The North Queensland Cowboys say they have been dudded out of holding their final training session of the week because the NRL has reserved the stadium to run through a dress rehearsal of the Thrift Shop artist's act.
He's also now been accused of "politicising" the game just by performing one of his biggest hits.
Macklemore plans to perform his ARIA chart topping song Same Love as part of his set. The hit song is unashamedly about marriage equality and its performance comes in the midst of Australia's heated debate on the same issue.
Singer Mary Lambert, who shared vocals on the track, has said she is "so excited" about flying to Australia to reunite with Macklemore to perform the 2012 song.
But a Change.org petition has been started by ex-NRL player Tony Wall demanding the "LGBTIQ anthem" not be played and that "LGBTIQ politics is taken out of the NRL".
Wall played 10 games for Western Suburbs in 1995.
He said playing Same Love was a "bold political stance" and his family would feel "uncomfortable" at the footy.
"As a No voter it will be very difficult to watch the NRL Grand Final with my wife and five young children as the event will be heavily politicised," he wrote.
Mr Wall has found backing from former PM and prominent No campaigner Tony Abbott who tweeted his support for the petition.
The Coalition for Marriage said team flags "not rainbow flags" should be flown at the Grand Final.
Spokesman David Goodwin said it was "pretty bizarre that the NRL would choose to use its halftime entertainment to push a message which it knows millions of Australians disagree with."
But there would be some pretty annoyed fans if he left it off the set list given the song is one of Macklemore's biggest. It reached number one on the ARIA charts in 2012 and was the year's 14 biggest selling pop song in Australia.
Ahead of flying out to Sydney, Macklemore addressed the issue when interviewed by US radio show The Cruz Show.
"I'm actually going out to Australia to perform at kind of the Super Bowl of their rugby league," the rapper said.
"And it's interesting actually cause I'm gonna play Same Love and they're going through trying to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia.
"So I'm getting a lot of tweets from angry old white dudes in Australia. Today I think there is a petition to ban me from playing.
"It's interesting times in Australia and I'm heading on a flight over there later tonight."
The interviewer then says Macklemore needs to "go harder" in response to the criticism.
"I'm gonna go harder," he said.
Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson said the NRL had erred in its selection of the Seattle performer.
"Look, I don't even know who he is, Macklemore," Hanson told Sunrise. "That's how important he is to me.
"People have had it up to here with the same-sex marriage issue. This is a game. It's in their face. And people are fed up with it.
"We've got so many other great artists in this country that we could actually put up there. Why are bringing in someone from overseas?"
COWBOYS CLASH WITH MACKLEMORE
North Queensland threatened to skip Wednesday's Dally M Awards over a scheduling clash with American rapper Macklemore.
The Cowboys are reportedly furious they have been dudded out of holding their final training session of the week at ANZ Stadium because the NRL has reserved the stadium to run through a dress rehearsal of the NRL grand final entertainment, headlined by the Thrift Shop artist.
The NRL's entertainment dry run is one of many scheduling headaches which has complicated the Cowboys' preparations and means the club will not get to train at ANZ Stadium before Sunday's grand final against Melbourne.
The Storm will hold their final training session at the Olympic stadium, while the Cowboys have been forced to move their captain's run to Jubilee Oval in Kogarah - the Dragons' Sydney-based home ground.
Channel 7 reports the Cowboys were so angry about being dudded in the scheduling mix-up that the club earlier this week threatened to remain in Townsville and skip the Dally M Awards.
Both grand final teams have traditionally been given access to train on ANZ Stadium the day before the NRL grand final, but there was only time for one team this year.
The Storm have booked the Stadium from 10.30am on Saturday and there is not enough time in between their training and the NRL's dress rehearsal for the Cowboys to sneak in their captain's run.
The Cowboys were also originally dudded earlier this week when they and the Storm requested to use Leichhardt Oval for their main training session of the week on Thursday.
The NRL gave priority to the Melbourne Storm because they took out the minor premiership.
However, the Storm have since agreed to hold their session on Thursday at an alternative venue.
The Cowboys are unable to use Leichardt again for Saturday's run because the Koori Knock-out will be held at the venue from Friday through to Monday's grand final.
Despite their complaint, the Cowboys will attend Wednesday night's Dally M Awards.
The scheduling mix-up is just one more hurdle for the Cowboys to overcome.
It is the fourth consecutive week the Cowboys have had to make the 2075km trip to Sydney after previously beating the Sharks, Eels and Roosters.
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