Manly pride jersey: Sea Eagles fans reveal what they think of player boycott: NRL
Proud Manly fans draped head-to-toe in rainbow capes showcased their pride at a match dramatically boycotted by seven players over a jersey that was supposed to represent inclusivity.
Punters were handed rainbow badges as they filed into 4 Pines Park in Sydney’s north for the eagerly-anticipated clash against the Sydney Roosters on Thursday night.
Half the Sea Eagles run-on side were noticeably absent from the revised team sheet following their refusal to wear the rainbow-stripped jumper celebrating gay pride on religious grounds.
The majority of fans who spoke to Daily Mail Australia welcomed the first pride jersey ever wore in rugby league history – with many expressing disappointment over the boycott distraction taking the gloss off the historic moment.
The Brookvale faithful filled the stadium with with rainbow flags, glitter and posters with over 12,000 in attendance on the back of a tumultuous and embarrassing week for the storied club.
Couple Peta and Charity King shared a sweet kiss before the Manly-Roosters game and said they were trying to remain optimistic despite the drama surrounding boycotting players
Fans who spoke to Daily Mail Australia were proud of the pride jersey with many expressing their disappointment over the distraction taking the gloss off the historic moment
Fans showed their support for the pride jersey with posters, rainbow flags and bright colours
Couple Peta and Charity King shared a sweet kiss before the game and said they were trying to remain optimistic and use the attention to set a good example.
‘There’s always going to be people that disappoint you, but we’re thinking on the positive side. We’re really excited Manly is the first team to bring out these pride jerseys and make a change,’ Charity said.
‘We choose to look at the positive side of things,’ Peta agreed.
‘It maybe wasn’t handled the best way, but the club was trying to make a positive impact and statement of support and inclusivity.
‘It caused a bit of drama but we’re choosing to celebrate and support.’
In her wedding vows, Peta jokingly warned her wife that supporting Manly was a condition of their marriage.
Seven Manly players were noticeably absent from Thursday night’s game after it was announced they would refuse to wear the NRL’s first ever pride jersey (pictured, fans at the game)
In her wedding vows, Peta (right) jokingly warned her wife Charity (left) she would need to continue to support the Manly Sea Eagles during their marriage
Volunteers from Amnesty International handed out rainbow badges to punters as they entered
‘NRL fans can be all kinds of people, there’s not one type,’ Charity said.
‘I think more people are going to be proud and open about that and be who they are – with their teams and within themselves.’
The player’s decision to shun the jerseys – and by extension the LGBTQIA+ community – made headlines around the world with the boycotting players warned to steer clear of Brookvale Oval over safety concerns.
Players Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley cited cultural and religious reasons for their refusal to wear the jersey, in a move that has divided opinion across Australia.
Six of the seven players are of Pacific Island heritage, while Jason Saab is of mixed indigenous and Nigerian background with a Lebanese stepfather.
Mikey Gardiner, a proud gay man, arrived in his pride jersey just before kick-off.
‘I’m proud, I love the team, and like Cherry (Daly-Evans) said we need to think about the other people on the team that are supporting, let’s not forget about that,’ he said.
The player’s decision to shun the jerseys – and by extension the LGBTIQ+ community – made headlines around the world
Mikey Gardiner, a proud gay man, arrived in his pride jersey just before kick-off (pictured)
Friends Gabby, Olly and Anna (pictured left to right) came to support Manly at Thursday night’s clash despite the decisions of seven key players
Punters were wrapped in rainbow flags and adorned with pride badges at Thursday’s game
‘It’s not great, the whole situation. It’s 2022 – are we really here still?
‘But, nonetheless I’m going to come down here and support the team and have pride in my pride I guess.’
Daniel, a staunch Manly supporter, was more concerned about what effect the loss of seven crucial players would have on his team’s performance.
It turned out he had reason to be worried, with Manly losing to the Roosters 20-10.
‘It’s the time of the year when we need to win every game,’ he explained. ‘It sucks to lose our best players, but I mean it’s their choice.’
Veteran Manly fan John Kirk said he thought the players were ‘cherry-picking’.
‘It’s hypocritical. They’re sponsored by the beer Four Pines,’ he said.
Friends Anna, Olly and Gabby came to support Manly during Thursday night’s clash despite the ugly tension surrounding the pre-game build up.
Roosters fans also showed their support for the NRL’s first ever pride jersey at the clash
Daniel, a staunch Manly supporter, (right) was more concerned about what effect the loss of seven crucial players would have on his team’s performance
Fans showed their support for the pride jersey with colourful accessories and rainbow flags
Couple Chris and Rhea De Jesus (pictured centre with their children) agreed it was ‘sad’ that some players had decided not to partake in an initiative that celebrated inclusivity
‘I think it’s ridiculous they’re using religion as an excuse because they endorse gambling on their jersey and play in an alcohol-sponsored venue,’ Olly said.
Ellen Heinrich said she was disappointed some players had refused to participate.
‘There could have been some discussions internally with management before it went viral, but hind sights always a good thing,’ she said. ‘There would have been a lot of people who put a lot of work into this so I feel bad for them.’
Couple Chris and Rhea De Jesus agreed it was ‘sad’ that some players had decided not to partake in an initiative that celebrated inclusivity.
‘You gotta do it for the team,’ Mr De Jesus said. ‘You’re still getting paid to play.’
‘Manly is doing a great thing by supporting a marginalised community,’ his wife said.
‘Their actions have a negative impact on the LGBTQIA+ community, especially the young supporters which I think is far more damaging.’
Cheerleaders wear rainbow colours as they put on a show ahead of kick off in Sydney
Keiran Tanner (pictured left) who brought his young children to the game said he wishes he could buy a Roosters pride jersey for his family
Veteran Manly fan John Kirk (left) said he thought the players were ‘cherry-picking’
Punters were handed rainbow badges (pictured) as they entered Four Pines Park in Sydney’s north for the eagerly-anticipated clash against the Roosters on Thursday night
Keiran Tanner, who brought his young children to the game, said he wishes he could buy a Roosters pride jersey for his family.
‘We’re really excited for a pride round, an inclusion round, it’s fantastic,’ he said.
‘Sometimes you have to have these setbacks to have a bright future, and I think we’ll get there. I think it’ll be a stepping stone for a pride round next year.’
Kristin Glanville from the Northern Beaches Council said councillors had expressed their unanimous support for the pride jersey during a Tuesday night meeting.
‘I think it’s very brave how the players have stuck their necks out, the ones that want to wear the pride jersey, it’s always a difficult thing to be the first,’ she said.
‘We’ve been handing out so many rainbow badges, people are really enthusiastic.’
Dale Watson, whose family brought a rainbow flag to the game, said at the end of the day the players were employees of the club and should behave as such.
Dale Watson (pictured left), whose family brought a rainbow flag to the game, said at the end of the day the players were employees of the club and should behave as such
Emily Buckle (pictured) said she felt positive about the reception at the stadium on Thursday
Sean Moran (right) and Emily Buckle (left), founders of new advocacy group Fusion Pride, said they could ‘feel a good sense of pride’ at the stadium
‘Employees of any business, be it politics, being a policeman, that’s your job. Their employed to do a job,’ he said.
Sean Moran and Emily Buckle, founders of new advocacy group Fusion Pride, said they could ‘feel a good sense of pride’ at the stadium on Thursday.
‘They are just seven people out of an entire community,’ Mr Moran said of the boycotting players. ‘It feels really supportive and kind.’
‘We felt so welcomed on arrival,’ Ms Buckle agreed. ‘There’s a way to go but we’re positive that we’re on the pathway that will take us into the future.’
Manly Sea Eagles owner Scott Penn on Thursday hinted that the boycotting players would wear the jerseys next season, as long as they were consulted.
Manly Sea Eagles owner Scott Penn on Thursday hinted that the boycotting players would wear the jerseys next season, as long as they were consulted
Sea Eagles fans were also seen holding posters that asked punters to ‘respect the Manly 7’ – the seven players who refused to wear the pride jersey at Thursday’s match
Manly Sea Eagles owner Scott Penn is pictured with captain Daly Cherry-Evans
Mr Penn said the absentees were more frustrated their religious and cultural stance had not been considered than opposed to the pride jersey itself.
‘I think they were somewhat frustrated that it went as far as it did without consultation, and we respect that,’ he told 9News.
We are all about inclusiveness, so we will continue this theme.’
He added that the Sea Eagles planned to wear a pride jersey next season and that the seven boycotting players have flagged they will be involved.
Yes. that’s the message they were very clear on — let’s work together,’ he said.
Mr Penn (pictured embracing Daly Cherry-Evans) said the ‘Manly Seven’ were more frustrated their religious and cultural stance had not been considered than opposed to the jersey itself