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Manly pride jersey saga: Magda Szubanski slams Sea Eagles stars boycotting match over rainbow stripe

Magda Szubanski has accused the male stars, who will boycott their NRL contest over a rainbow-striped pride jersey, of failing to show the tolerance their religion teaches.

The comedian and TV personality is the latest to engage in the ongoing saga, which continues to dominate the headlines and threaten to overshadow this weekend’s Women in League round.

Seven Manly Sea Eagles players will miss Thursday night’s crucial game against the Sydney Roosters because of their convictions they were unwilling to wear the rainbow stripe club jersey.

It has since been announced that Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolu Koula and Toafofoa Sipley will have to stay away from the game at 4 Pines Park on Sydney’s Northern Beaches for safety reasons.

Szubanski took to Twitter on Wednesday night to call on players to show the tolerance their Christian faith had to learn.

Magda Szubanski has weighed in on the ongoing controversy over the Manly Pride jersey

Magda Szubanski has weighed in on the ongoing controversy over the Manly Pride jersey

“Thought Experiment: Imagine if male players were asked to wear stripes to let religious players and fans know they’re welcome,” the outspoken star began.

“Then imagine an atheist player refusing to wear the stripes because (sic) their “belief” (based on facts) is that millions have been killed in the name of religion.

“Religious tolerance doesn’t mean you approve or believe the other person’s religion. It means that you accept the right to exist. That you support a world where people are not excluded or persecuted because of their religion. All we ask is for the same courtesy.’

She pointed out that while many current NRL players are candid about their staunch religious beliefs, not one is openly gay.

It’s been nearly 20 years since Manly legend Ian Roberts made history as the world’s first rugby league player to come out as gay.

“In a nutshell, the reason we don’t all kill each other is tolerance,” Szubanski wrote.

Sean Keppie, Kieran Foran and Reuben Garrick are among 17 Manly players who will proudly wear the controversial jersey on Thursday night

Sean Keppie, Kieran Foran and Reuben Garrick are among 17 Manly players who will proudly wear the controversial jersey on Thursday night

Manly’s players are asked to decide whether they believe in supporting a tolerant society – one that allows for difference.

“Note that there are LOTS of players who feel safe to be open about their religion, but not current players who feel safe to be open about their sexuality. That tells us where the injustice lies.’

Szubanski then doubled down on her explanation by quoting a series of verses from the Bible.

“Here are some Bible quotes that can help the Manly players figure it out,” she said.

Magda Szubanski quoted a series of verses from the Bible in her scathing attack on boycotting male players

Magda Szubanski quoted a series of verses from the Bible in her scathing attack on boycotting male players

She later added: “I hope things would get better if it was explained to the players to make people feel safe and welcome.

‘You can’t force people to believe that homosexuality is not sinful.

‘But you can ask them to cooperate in a tolerant society that accepts difference. Including their own.’

Kath and Kim's star (pictured) pointed out that while many current NRL players are candid about the persistent religious beliefs, not one has turned openly gay

Kath and Kim’s star (pictured) pointed out that while many current NRL players are candid about the persistent religious beliefs, not one has turned openly gay

Brisbane Broncos and Queensland Origin legend Sam Thaiday says he would have no problem with the jersey if he were still playing.

“100 percent, I would wear it loud and proud,” Thaiday told the Today show on Thursday.

“This is a debate that has been going on all week. I literally have an ulcer between my legs because I’m on the fence with this in the sense that I have to be inclusive and respect the players who have decided not to wear the jersey.

“But well done to the 17 players who are running out for Manly tonight and wearing that jersey.

“They start a conversation in rugby league. Hopefully it is a step forward into the future and see what will happen in the future.’

The problem could not have cropped up at a worse time for Manly with the Sea Eagles and Roosters on either side of the top-eight dividing line.

not show the tolerance their religion requires.

not show the tolerance their religion requires.

Male winger Jason Saab

Sea Eagles winger Christian Tuipulotu

Male wingers Jason Saab and Christian Tuipulotu are among the players who oppose wearing the jersey on religious grounds

Manly was already missing players for the showdown with the eighth-seeded Roosters, who are slightly higher up the ladder on pros and cons.

Manly is the only club to wear a pride jersey this weekend, making it the first team in the league’s 114 year history to wear such a design.

The historic jersey celebrates inclusivity, replacing traditional white piping with rainbow lines.

The shirt was sold out in the men’s, women’s and children’s section of Manly’s website just hours after the player boycott.

It is clear that Manly’s players were not told that until Monday, despite it being more than 12 months in the making at the club.

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