Footy supremo Peter V’landys takes a shot at Manly for handling of pride jersey and warns club of ‘repercussions’ – while saying boycotting players ‘have every right to take a stand’
- The NRL boss conceded that ‘mistake have been made’ by the Manly Sea Eagles
- He supported the boycotting players but hopes they change their mind
- V’landys stressed the NRL is inclusive and will not back down from that stance
- That includes religious players and people from the LGBTIQA+ community
NRL boss Peter V’landys has slammed Manly’s handling of the Pride jersey fiasco while also declaring that while the players have every right to stand down, the NRL will not take a backward step when it comes to inclusiveness.
The messy fallout of the player boycott at Manly is set to keep rolling with coach Des Hasler facing a deadline to submit a final team sheet for Thursday’s match against the Sydney Roosters to the NRL.
At this stage, players Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula and Toafofoa Sipley will not be taking part because the club’s pride jersey goes against their religious and cultural beliefs.
The pride jersey with rainbow stripes designed to support the LGBTIQA+ community has split Manly’s playing group
A crisis meeting on Monday night did little to douse the flames of discontent from the players, although 7News reported three of the seven players were considering a change of heart.
Speaking on 2GB this morning, V’landys said the whole situation had been handled poorly by Manly, who reportedly did not consult the players before rolling out the jersey.
‘Look, there’s mistakes been made here. They should have been consulted, it should have been done in a collaborative way, it hasn’t and there will be repercussions,’ he said.
V’Landys has supported the players who have chosen to stand down saying they have the freedom and choice to do so, but slammed Manly’s handling of the Pride jersey issue
‘I am heartened by the fact that some may have changed their minds and will play on Thursday.
‘Everyone knows the position of the game. Everyone knows that it’s the greatest game for all,’ he said.
‘If you don’t want to be inclusive and you don’t recognise that we’re all human beings and we’re all the same, well you have the right to stand down and not play.
‘But the game will always be there for everyone.’
V’landys said that inclusion in the NRL includes the religious beliefs and freedoms of those players who he said had every right to stand down from the match.
But he also stressed that the NRL would not take a backward step when it comes to inclusiveness policies, which includes religious beliefs and the LGBTIQA+ community.
‘We respect everyone. It doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation is, what your belief in marriage is, what your race is, what your colour is, we respect you as a human being,’ he said.
Josh Aloiai is one of the Manly players likely to boycott Thursday’s NRL match against the Sydney Roosters citing religious beliefs that won’t allow him to wear the Pride jersey
‘Those players are aware of our policy in that regard. If they’ve got a religious belief and they don’t wish to play, I respect that and I respect all the players.
‘I am the first person that believes in freedom and believes in choice. But they’ve got a choice here, the game and its policy has been that for many years and it won’t change.’
V’landys also rejected suggestions the issue had become a political football.
‘I am the first person that doesn’t want sport to be politicised because we go to sport to escape the day-to-day problems, so we don’t want to have politics involved,’ he said.
‘But this isn’t politics. Recognising and respecting fellow human beings and being inclusive, I do not believe it political.’
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