Don Bradman cricket news: Fury as icon cancelled over letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser

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A storm has erupted over the sensational backlash towards Australian icon Sir Donald Bradman.

There has been significant twist in the public debate with many Australian commentators coming forward to defend the legendary cricketer after calls on social media for “The Don” to be “cancelled”.

Bradman, known as one of history’s greatest sportsmen, has been dead for 21 years. But now, a dusty old letter addressed to Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, two days after the 1975 dismissal election, has apparently “exposed” the former cricketing great as a “right wing nutjob”.

In the letter, which was unearthed by Federation University’s Verity Archer, Bradman urged the new PM to scrap regulations on capital and warned of the risks inflation poses to Australia.

“A marvellous victory in which your personal conduct and dignity stood out against the background of arrogance and propaganda indulged in by your opponents,” Bradman wrote.

“Now you may have to travel a long and difficult road along which your enemies will seek to destroy you.”

Bradman — who was 67 at the time of writing the letter — also warned Mr Fraser about the power of unions and urged for the public to be “re-educated to believe private enterprise is entitled to rewards, as long as it obeys the rules”.

“What the people need are clearly defined rules which they can read and understand so that they can get on with their affairs,” Bradman continued.

“The public must be re-educated to believe that private enterprise is entitled to rewards as long as it obeys fair and reasonable rules laid down by government. Maybe you can influence leaders of the press to a better understanding of this necessity of presentation.”

A swarm of commentators and Twitter users have now leapt to his defence.

His reputation as a magician at the crease helped pull through Australia through the Great Depression of the 1930s — and his record 99.94 average is still far and beyond the most iconic statistic in a game ruled by numbers.

So it’s no surprise the attempted pile-on — on Boxing Day no less — was met with pushback from public figures across the country.

Federal Liberal Party Vice President Teena McQueen told Sky News host Rita Panahi: “It’s absolutely disgraceful that they are now trying to cancel one of the greatest Australians. It’s unbelievable”.

Panahi said the “woke” current cricket team led by Test captain Pat Cummins should be more like Bradman.

She said Bradman’s views have been misrepresented and described the backlash as “quite disgraceful”.

Renowned Indigenous leader Nyunggai Warren Mundine wrote on Twitter: “It’s actually a LWNJ attack”.

Nationals MP and former deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack was among those pushing back on Twitter.

The Daily Telegraph’s Tim Blair wrote in a column: “We need more statues of Bradman”.

ABC reporter Gareth Hutchins wrote: “There are other Bradman letters worth writing about. Like his letters to protesters in the 70s, in which he asked them to explain to him why they didn’t want the apartheid-era South African cricket team to tour Australia. He listened to them, and he ended up cancelling the tour.

“What an enormous s**t take,” founder of Cato Advisory Tim Findlay said.

“Focusing on the opinion of others yet no criticism of the actual message in the letter which, given the state of the economy and Brad man’s role as a company chairman, was to be expected of a man doing his job.”

Social media users and journalists were earlier divided over the famed member of the 1948 “Invincibles” team’s views.

Former Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula posted.

Sydney Morning Herald writer Daniel Brettig described the letter as “extraordinary” and said it showed Bradman’s attempt at an “intervention at an explosive moment in Australian political history”.

Broadcaster Phillip Adams wrote, “Sad. Lost letter from Bradman to Fraser after Whitlam’s dismissal reveals ‘the Don’ to be a RWNJ [right-wing nutjob].”

Others social media users said The Don was well known as a “thoroughly nasty piece of work”.

Former Lord Mayor of Brisbane Clem Jones previously described Bradman — who claimed to live a “non-political” life — as a “bigoted right-wing politician”.

“Bradman was quite right-wing,” Mr Jones told Inside Story in 2007.

“He was the best chairman of any organisation I’ve had anything to do with, absolutely outstanding. But he was a bigoted, right-wing politician. People say he wasn’t political — he was, and very much so.”

Originally published as Fury after Sir Donald Bradman ‘cancelled’ over letter

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