The relentless bullying of a nine-year-old Indigenous boy has prompted some of the NRL’s biggest stars to show their support, as well as a global fundraising effort.
- Yarraka Bayles posted a video of her son, Quaden, distraught after a day of bullying at school
- The video has been viewed more than 4 million times, prompting support from around the world
- The NRL’s Indigenous All Stars want Quaden to lead them onto the field this weekend, and a GoFundMe has been started to send him to Disneyland
Quaden Bayles’s mother, Yarraka, posted a video on social media of her son crying in the car after school, after he had been bullied, something which she said happens “every single freakin’ day”.
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In the video, Quaden says he wants to take his own life, and Yarraka, speaking to NITV, said he has made previous attempts.
The article identifies Quaden as a Murri boy and said he was born with Achondroplasia, which is the most common form of dwarfism. Yarraka told NITV that on the day in question she saw him being teased for his height.
“There’s no escaping it, this is our reality,” Yarraka is heard saying in the video.
“I used to tell him just ignore it; well no, f***ing ignoring it doesn’t solve the problem. How does that address bullying if you choose to ignore it?
“It needs to be addressed straight away and that’s exactly what I’m doing now. Every time it happens, I’ll be doing a live video so that people know. So hopefully we can make some changes so that this doesn’t happen to another family and hopefully we don’t lose another young innocent life to bullying.”
She released a statement, saying “bullying has to stop” and thanking people from “all around the world” for their support after she posted the video, which has been viewed over 4 million times on her Facebook page.
“Due to the large volume of messages, we are unable to respond to everyone at this time as we need time to process as a family and would like to ask that media respect the family’s wishes, they are not taking calls and will be speaking to First Nations Media only at this time,” a statement read.
This illustration of Quaden Bayles by Josh Yasserie was posted to social media the day after the video emerged. (Supplied: Josh Yasserie)
“Again, thank you everyone, Quaden’s feeling the love and now he needs a good rest.
“We are meeting with the appropriate people in power to make changes and make a stand against bullying.”
‘We want you to lead us out on the weekend’
Latrell Mitchell described Quaden as a “little super hero” after he met him at the 2016 Koori Knockout. (Instagram: Latrell Mitchell)
With the NRL All Stars game between an Indigenous and a Maori side to be played on Saturday night, the Indigenous All Stars reached out, asking the Brisbane boy to lead them onto the field on the Gold Coast.
The team recorded a video, with South Sydney Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell, who met Quaden at the 2016 Koori Knockout rugby league carnival, doing the talking.
“Hey Quadey, how you going, cuz?” he said of the boy that he described as a “little super hero” after their 2016 meeting.
“Just want to wish you all the best, brother. We know you’re going through a hard time right now but the boys are here, we got your back, we’re here to support you, bud. And we just want to make sure that you’re doing alright.
“Your mum’s on your side, we’re on your side and [we want to] make sure you’re thinking the right things, bud, because we want you around.
@NRL: The Indigenous All Stars’ Latrell Mitchell speaks to Quaden Bayle in a Twitter video
“We want you to lead us out on the weekend. It’s gonna mean more to us than it will to you, bud. So just make sure you’re looking after yourself and hopefully we get to see you in the next couple of days.”
The video ends with the whole team cheering for Quaden, who, based on social media activity, is an avid fan.
A slew of images on Yarraka’s Instagram account and Quaden’s account show him posing with past and present Indigenous NRL stars like Mitchell, James Roberts, Greg Inglis, Adam Reynolds, Anthony Mundine and Johnathan Thurston.
“Quaden … stay strong buddy; you are loved!” Thurston posted on Instagram.
“To the bullies … THIS IS NOT OK.”
A number of people from the sports world, including Wallaby Quade Cooper and AFL great Leigh Matthews, have expressed their support on social media, while US comedian Brad Williams got in contact with the family and started a GoFundMe campaign to send Quaden to Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
Williams, who was born with the same sort of dwarfism as Quaden, posted an update when the total went past $3,000 about an hour after it was created, tweeting that the Bayles family was “in tears from your generosity”.
Williams also posted a video to the Facebook page Stand Tall 4 Dwarfism, which Yarraka Bayles runs.
“I just want to let you know that we love you, we support you and you can contact me if you just want to talk or if you need any help,” Williams said in the video.
“We’re here for you and we’re going to do something for you very soon. Thanks Quaden. You’re brave and you’re better than all of them.”
Quaden appears regularly on Yarraka’s Instagram account wearing any number of sporting jerseys — including basketball and baseball — and Williams said the Los Angeles Angels, a Major League Baseball team based in Anaheim, would bring Quaden to one of their upcoming games.
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