Northampton Saints forward Lewis Ludlam says he does not believe supporters should be banned from singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. The Twickenham staple song has been under increased scrutiny recently given the ongoing focus around the Black Lives Matter protests.
Earlier this week, fellow England international Maro Itoje said the song makes him “uncomfortable”, but added that he does not believe the song should be banned.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also said fans should not be banned from singing a song believed to have roots in American slavery.
And now Ludlam, whose father has Palestinian and Egyptian roots, and mother a Guyanese background, has added his voice to the debate, arguing that the song is no longer sung in the same context.
“I disagree personally,” Ludlam told Sky Sports. “Swing Low is something that I grew up listening to and singing along to when I went to watch England play when I was younger.
“I think the meaning of things changes and when you sing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot it’s not in the context of race and slavery any more.
“I don’t think those 50-odd thousand people at Twickenham when they’re singing it even think about the racial connotations behind it, so it’s not something I agree with banning.
“It’s something I enjoy singing and I think the context and the meaning of the song has changed for me.”
Ludlam, 24, has been capped eight times by England since making his debut last year.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now