'Parents need to step up': NRL legend hits out over tragic bullying video

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

NRL legend Johnathan Thurston has praised the mother of nine-year-old Quaden Bayles for having to courage to share her son’s hurt and distress after being repeatedly bullied by children at his school.

Quaden’s mother Yarraka posted the video to Facebook on Thursday, after her distraught son told her he ‘wanted to die’.

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Quaden was diagnosed with achondroplasia – a common form of dwarfism - and in the devastating video the nine-year-old asks his mother: “Give me a knife – I want to kill myself”.

The heartbreaking video caught the attention of the NRL Indigenous All-Stars, who offered to bring the youngster to the All-Stars match this Saturday, and for him to lead them out on the ground.

Speaking about the video on radio station Nova on Friday, Thurston said parents should do more to stop their children from bullying others.

“It doesn’t matter if you have children or not, to see these images is heartbreaking,” Thurston said.

“I commend the mother for filming this and raising awareness of what bulling does.

Nine-year-old Quaden Bayles has accepted an invitation from the NRL's Indigenous All-Stars to join them on the field at this weekend's match. Picture: Facebook/Yarraka Bales

“We had Dolly from the NT a couple of years ago who committed suicide and now we’ve got a nine year old who’s talking about the same thing.

“I think parents need to step up and start educating their kids on the effects of bullying.”

Thurston, who retired from the NRL in 2018, also said he was looking forward to meeting Quaden when he attends the All-Stars game himself.

“I’m going to be at the game on Saturday night, I’m looking forward to watching him lead the team out,” he said.

“That’ll be a big moment for him and certainly put a big smile on his face.”

The Maori All-Star team has also reached out to the young footy fan, praising their Indigenous counterparts for their offer to meet with the young fan.

“Love that the Indigenous boys have reached out to the family and will be leading them out on Saturday night at the all stars,” Eels player Brad Takairangi wrote.

“Will be sure to go find him and show some love as well.”

Sporting world rallies around Quaden

The Indigenous All-Stars were the first to reach out to Quaden Bayles, but they’re far from the last.

Athletes and comedians of all persuasions have rallied behind the nine-year-old.

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter tweeted an offer for tickets to an NBA game, while other Australian celebrities like Charlie Pickering have also voiced their support.