Politics

NRL 2022: Manly Sea Eagles pride jersey, seven players set to stand down, Eagles vs Roosters

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The Manly Sea Eagles have been thrown into turmoil ahead of their Thursday night contest against the Sydney Roosters, because of their pride jersey.

As many as seven players are reportedly considering pulling out of the contest due to the club’s inclusive jersey.

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Players are reportedly opposed to wearing the jersey due to religious beliefs and are set to stand down with suggestions they weren’t consulted prior to the jersey announcement, The Daily Telegraphreports.

The players in question reportedly include Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu and Josh Aloiai. Josh Schuster and Haumole Olakau’atu are also said to be considering their decision.

Manly officials are set to hold an emergency meeting on Monday night with the players as the club faces the damning prospect of contesting the must win game without seven of their stars.

Coach Des Hasler has told his players he will support their decision to stand down from Thursday’s game over the pride jersey, the SMH reports.

Manly will become the first club in rugby league history to wear a jersey celebrating inclusivity with rainbow colours replacing the traditional white piping.

The Manly Sea Eagles major sponsor is gambling company Pointsbet, while their home stadium, 4 Pines Park, is named after an alcoholic brewing company.

Sea Eagles great Ian Roberts, the first rugby league player to come out as openly gay, was hoping to attend the game this Thursday.

“LGBTIQA people have always been a part of sport but haven’t always been allowed the visibility,” Roberts said.

“Honestly I have been trying to get the NRL to have a pride round for the past three years and it still hasn’t got the traction it deserves. It saddens me because they think having a float at the Mardi Gras is enough and it’s not.”

The damning report drew severe social media backlash with fans in uproar over the players potentially standing down because of the jersey.

Wide World of Sports’ Matt Bungard wrote: “I don’t want to hear one single thing about ‘respecting other people’s opinions’ or using religion as a crutch to hide behind while being homophobic. No issues playing at a stadium covered in alcohol and gambling sponsors, which is also a sin. What a joke.”

Spalk Talk’s Tom Read wrote: “As a manly fan, I’d be more than ok for those players to not play in this game, or ever again for the club.”

Townsville Bulletin editor Chris McMahon wrote: “I don’t care if it derails Manly’s season, but if these flogs pull out of this game because of an inclusive jersey, they should be stood down for the season without pay. As a massive @SeaEagles supporter this is enough for me to almost pack it in.”

Originally published as Seven Manly Sea Eagles players may stand down over club’s pride jersey



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