Player anger over NRL club Manly’s gay rainbow jumper design could see seven stars BOYCOTT upcoming match rather than wear it – as Sea Eagles hold emergency meeting
- The Sea Eagles unveiled their Everyone in League jersey on Monday
- The jumper features Rainbow colours in place of Manly’s traditional white piping
- But up to seven players refuse to wear the jersey on religious grounds
- They are considering withdrawing from Thursday’s game against the Roosters
- Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu and Josh Aloiai reported to be part of the seven
A number of Manly players are reportedly considering withdrawing from Thursday’s game against the Roosters because of the club’s inclusive jersey.
According to the Daily Telegraph, up to seven Sea Eagles players could make themselves unavailable for the Round 20 clash at Brookvale Oval amid reports they were not consulted over the jersey.
Manly will reportedly hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday in an attempt to try and resolve the situation, which has left them in a precarious position.
Manly players Sean Keppie (left), Kieran Foran (middle) and Reuben Garrick posed with the club’s Everyone in League jersey, which was unveiled on Monday
The club unveiled the jersey – called Everyone in League – on Monday to celebrate diversity and inclusivity in the NRL.
The jumper features Rainbow colours replacing the traditional white piping on the maroon background, making Manly the first NRL club to wear a pride jersey.
The Telegraph revealed wingers Jason Saab and Christian Tuipulotu and star forward Josh Aloiai are among the players opposing to wear the jersey on religious grounds. The players were reportedly not consulted by the club over the decision to wear the Rainbow jersey.
The 33-year-old was exiled by Australia three years ago following his homophobic remarks
Notably the Sea Eagles’ ground Brookvale Oval is known as 4 Pines Park – a craft beer brewing company – for sponsorship reason, while one of the club’s main sponsor is Pointsbet – a gambling company.
Former Wallabies star Israel Folau famously had his Australia contract torn up in 2019 after he posted a meme on social media which said ‘hell’ awaits homosexuals and other groups.
An evangelical Christian, Folau returned to rugby league in France in 2020 and tried to revive his career in
He tried to revive his career in the sport in Australia but was blocked by local officials.
The Sea Eagles wore a vintage kit on Friday in their loss against St George Illawarra
The Daily Telegraph reported Manly wingers Jason Saab and Christian Tuipulotu are among the players who oppose wearing the jersey on religious grounds
Sea Eagles star Kieran Foran, Sean Keppie and Reuben Garrick posed with the new jumper, which received the backing of former Manly forward Ian Roberts, who in 1995 became the first rugby league player to come out as gay, said.
‘LGBTIQA people have always been a part of sport but haven’t always been allowed the visibility,’ Roberts said.
‘I have been trying to get the NRL to have a pride round for the past three years and it still hasn’t got the traction it deserves.’
Brookvale Oval is known as 4 Pines Park – a craft beer brewing company – for sponsorship reason, while one of the club’s main sponsor is Pointsbet – a gambling company
Manly’s interim chief executive Gary Wolman said the club was proud of the initiative and of the message it 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.
‘To be able to bring this concept to life with Dynasty sport is a fantastic achievement and we are pleased 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 name a 22-man squad for the game by Tuesday afternoon
The feel-good factor following the announcement, however, soon dissipated with the club now facing the real risk of having to allow seven players to stand down from the game against the Roosters.
The Sea Eagles wore a retro kit for their loss against St George on Friday, but it is understood the NRL will not allow players who oppose the Rainbow jersey to wear an alternative jumper.
Thursday night’s clash could be pivotal for both teams’ finals hopes, with the ninth-placed Sea Eagles trailing the eighth-placed Roosters just on point differential.
Manly must name a 22-man squad for the game by Tuesday afternoon.