Manly Sea Eagles skipper Daly Cherry-Evans warns the NRL and other teams about FORCING players to be the face of inclusion in the game after seven stars split the team with boycott
- Daly Cherry-Evans said lessons need to be learnt from the rainbow jersey saga
- Manly skipper also pointed out NRL clubs embrace different cultures and beliefs
- Seven Sea Eagles boycotted the Roosters match due to different religious views
Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans has warned the NRL and other clubs not to force players to back specific causes such as inclusion and diversity.
Speaking after Manly’s brave 20-10 defeat against the Roosters at 4 Pines Park on Thursday, the veteran halfback said it is vital not to push players to the brink when it comes to commercialising the game.
The Sea Eagles were without seven key first graders – Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolu Koula and Toafofoa Sipley – because they felt wearing a rainbow pride club jersey went against their religious and cultural beliefs.
It quickly became a huge talking point, with many footy fans calling out the players given the club is sponsored by a gambling company – PointsBet – and they play out of a ground named after another one of their sponsors, 4 Pines beer.
The drama started after Kieran Foran, Sean Keppie and Rueben Garrick modelled the rainbow kits, with many of their teammates on Sydney’s northern beaches only becoming aware of the development after reading it in the press on Monday.
Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans has warned the NRL and other clubs not to force players to back specific causes such as inclusion and diversity after a testing week
Jason Saab was one of seven Manly players who boycotted Thursday’s match versus the Roosters as the club’s rainbow pride jersey didn’t align with his beliefs
Despite the rainbow jersey saga which divided footy fans, many Manly fans still showcased their support at the ground
It left the Sea Eagles in complete disarray, and in extraordinary scenes, coach Des Hasler publicly apologised for the fiasco alongside Cherry-Evans at Brookvale Oval on Tuesday.
After Manly fielded a depleted squad versus the Tricolours, Cherry-Evans stressed lessons have to be learnt from the saga.
He also added NRL teams such as the Sea Eagles already celebrate different cultures and beliefs.
‘If you look at a dressing room of an NRL squad, it is very diverse and very inclusive, so I just wonder how much we need to do as athletes because we already doing a lot of things,’ Cherry-Evans told reporters.
‘I think at some stage we have to understand that sport is pretty inclusive, but its not perfect, it does have boundaries.
Footy fans who acknowledged the Sea Eagles are all about being inclusive and diverse
‘Unfortunately when people get put in a position to have to do something they don’t want to do, I think that’s when you see positions like we had tonight.’
Manly could drop to 11th spot on the NRL ladder by the end of round 20 if the Raiders and Dragons both win this weekend.
While they were outsiders versus the Roosters, having seven players boycott the match severely hampered their chances.
The ‘Manly Seven’ were also told by club officials to stay away from 4 Pines Park on the advice of NSW Police.
Hasler’s men next host the Parramatta Eels on August 5.
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