Gallen was co-hosting 2GB’s Wide World of Sports radio with Mark Levy when a listener gave them a buzz, telling them the Tigers were copping a hammering on social media after revealing what the club called a “commemorative jersey”.
The jumper, to be worn in Wests Tigers’ Anzac Round game against the Manly Sea Eagles at Campbelltown Stadium, has a stock image of two US soldiers in a desert environment printed on the front.
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The uniforms and weaponry indicate the soldiers are American, not Australian, which is the reason for the backlash.
“Someone’s in trouble there, someone’s in trouble,” Gallen said on 2GB radio.
“Especially Anzac Day. We live in this beautiful country because of what they did for us, the sacrifices they made.
“To stuff that up — that’s a big stuff-up.”
Wests Tigers defended the jersey in a statement provided to Nine.
“Wests Tigers have collaborated with Holsworthy Army Barracks, who have sighted and approved all collateral relating to the release of this jersey,” the statement read.
“The soldiers on the jersey simply depict the modern-day soldier serving in a desert environment.
“The image in question, which is a stock image, has been purchased under license by our official apparel partner.
“The final design was approved by NRL licensing.
“The military camouflage pattern above the chevron on the jersey is an authentic replica of the Australian Army camouflage that has been digitalised and grey-scaled.
“Both the Australian and New Zealand flags are represented on the jersey’s shoulders, again honouring our Anzacs.
“Above all else, this jersey honours all Defence Force personnel who have served in recent conflicts in Middle East wars, who are so often underrepresented.”
Gallen softened his stance after Levy read out the Wests Tigers statement.
“I haven’t seen the jersey and, I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what a US soldier compared to an Australian soldier would look like, but if all that’s true and if all that’s right, it sounds pretty ridgy-didge, and probably play on,” Gallen said.
“If they’ve done all that research and investigation into making sure what they’re putting on the jersey is right, then fair enough.”
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Levy hit Gallen with an argument.
“I still don’t know what the United States Marine Corps has to do with Anzac Day,” Levy said.
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“Yeah, I agree with that,” Gallen replied.
Wests Tigers are 0-5 to start the season and floundering on the bottom of the ladder.
Tim Sheens’ men will face the Eels at Stadium Australia on Easter Monday.
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