WhatsNew2Day
Latest News And Breaking Headlines

NRL ‘pride’ jerseys SELL OUT after seven Manly Sea Eagles boycott wearing them

NRL fans have made an effort to buy the Manly Sea Eagles “proud” jersey after seven players chose to boycott the strip that supports LGBTIQ+ fans because of religious beliefs.

Following on from Manly’s player on Monday night, fans responded by getting even more excited to buy a piece of history.

Manly’s historic shirt celebrating inclusivity, including rainbow colors that replace the traditional white trim, sold out in the men’s section of the club’s website just hours after the seven players left.

NRL 'proud' shirt (pictured) designed by the Manly Sea Eagles sold out in their men's online section just hours after seven players chose to boycott them for Thursday's game with the Roosters

NRL ‘proud’ shirt (pictured) designed by the Manly Sea Eagles sold out in their men’s online section just hours after seven players chose to boycott them for Thursday’s game with the Roosters

Three Manly players have reportedly backflips over their decision to boycott Thursday’s crunch game against the Sydney Roosters.

The Sea Eagles unveiled the rainbow-striped pride jersey – called Everyone in League – on Monday to promote the inclusiveness of LGBT+ people in the NRL.

But star players Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley said Monday night they would refuse to wear the “inclusive” jersey on religious grounds.

The players had an emergency meeting with club officials to try and reach a compromise, but flatly refused to wear the strip, meaning the club could be forced to promote seven reserve players to come up with numbers.

Male players Sean Keppie (left), Kieran Foran (center) and Reuben Garrick posed with the club's Everyone in League shirt, which was unveiled Monday

Male players Sean Keppie (left), Kieran Foran (center) and Reuben Garrick posed with the club’s Everyone in League shirt, which was unveiled Monday

But on Tuesday morning, 7News reported that three of the seven players wanted to change their mind.

“Of the seven players who refuse to wear the jersey, at least three have now changed their mind and are considering wearing the pride jersey for this upcoming round,” reporter Michelle Bishop told Sunrise.

Club legend Ian Roberts, who became the first ever rugby league player to come out gay in 1995, said the embarrassing situation will be felt most by the area’s LGBTQI+ community.

“I’m trying to see it from all perspectives, but this breaks my heart,” Roberts told the Daily Telegram.

“It’s sad and uncomfortable. As an older gay man, this is not unknown. I wondered if there would be any religious backlash. That’s why I don’t think the NRL has ever had a Pride round.

“I can promise any young child on the northern beaches who has anything to do with their sexuality would have heard of this.”

Club legend Ian Roberts, who became the first ever rugby league player to come out gay in 1995, said the embarrassing situation will be felt most by the area's LGBTQI+ community.

Club legend Ian Roberts, who became the first ever rugby league player to come out gay in 1995, said the embarrassing situation will be felt most by the area’s LGBTQI+ community.

Manly was preparing to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday in an effort to resolve the unsightly gap that puts them in a precarious position ahead of the lap 20 collision at Brookvale Oval, also known as 4 Pines Park.

But with a media storm brewing, players and officials moved the meeting to Monday night.

The 90-minute sit-down ended with coach Des Hasler telling the players that he understood they had been placed in a difficult position and that he supported their decision not to play.

The jersey at the center of the dispute features rainbow colors that replace the traditional white piping on the maroon background, making Manly the first NRL club to wear a pride jersey in the 134-year history of rugby league.

It was clear Monday night’s meeting put forward the idea that the players who objected to the new design should be allowed to wear the standard jersey instead, but NRL regulations stipulate that all players must wear the same playing strip.

The Sea Eagles wore a vintage kit on Friday during their loss to St George Illawarra

The Sea Eagles wore a vintage kit on Friday during their loss to St George Illawarra

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 is in a precarious position ahead of the game at Round 20 at Brookvale Oval, aka 4 Pines Park (pictured)

Manly is in a precarious position ahead of the game at Round 20 at Brookvale Oval, aka 4 Pines Park (pictured)

Sea Eagles star Kieran Foran, Sean Keppie and Reuben Garrick posed with the new jersey, which was backed by Roberts.

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

“I’ve been trying for the last three years to get the NRL to have a pride round and it still doesn’t have the traction it deserves. It makes me sad because they think a float on the Mardi Gras is enough and it isn’t.’

At this stage, the club has no intention of tearing down the jersey – even though the Sea Eagles are vying for a place in the final.

Manly interim director Gary Wolman said the club is proud of the initiative and the message it has sent to the community.

“The Sea Eagles have such a rich and diverse history in rugby league and in the community,” he said at the unveiling of the jersey.

“It is a fantastic achievement to bring this concept to life with Dynasty Sport and we are delighted to be able to share such an important message that means so much to many people in the community.”

Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler must designate a 22-man selection for the game on Tuesday afternoon

Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler must designate a 22-man selection for the game on Tuesday afternoon

Pictured in 1995 playing for the Manly Sea Eagles, Ian Roberts was regarded as one of the strongest forwards of his time

Pictured in 1995 playing for the Manly Sea Eagles, Ian Roberts was regarded as one of the strongest forwards of his time

However, the feel-good factor after the announcement has long since disappeared with reports circulating that there was little consultation with the players.

The Sea Eagles wore a retro kit for their loss to St George Illawarra on Friday, but it is clear that the NRL will not allow players opposed to the rainbow jersey to wear an alternative jersey.

Thursday night’s showdown could prove crucial to both teams’ final hopes, with the ninth-seeded Sea Eagles trailing the eighth-seeded Roosters by just a point difference.

Israel Folau was banned from Australia three years ago for his homophobic comments

Israel Folau was banned from Australia three years ago for his homophobic comments

Manly must designate a selection of 22 men for the game on Tuesday afternoon.

Former Wallabies star Israel Folau rose to fame after his contract with Australia was torn up in 2019 after he posted a meme on social media saying that “hell” awaits gays and other groups he considered “sinners.”

Folau, an evangelical Christian, returned to the rugby league in France in 2020 and tried to revive his career in the sport in Australia but was blocked by local officials.

The 33-year-old returned to Test rugby last month when Tonga took on Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More