Manly Sea Eagles Pride Jersey, More Players Join Boycott, Des Hasler

Des Hasler Men’s Trainer.

Manly Sea Eagles manager Des Hasler has apologized for the club’s “significant mistake” regarding the controversial pride jersey, and confirmed the team would still wear the rainbow kit on Thursday.

But the drama isn’t over as The Daily Telegraph reported that the Sea Eagles were struggling to name a team as a “handful of aspiring first-timers who turned down the chance to play the game” for similar reasons as the seven players who were have presented. down on the shirt.

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The club announced a decimated 20-man squad for their Thursday night mandatory duel against the Sydney Roosters.

Dealing with the fallout from the players’ revolt, the club scrambled to put together a lineup for the first game of the 20th round.

It comes after seven players sensationally bowed out after the club announced that the pride shirt, complete with rainbow stripes and trim, would be worn as a one-off for their NRL match against the Sydney Roosters.

Josh Aloiai, Jason Saab, Christian Tuipulotu, Josh Schuster, Haumole Olakau’atu, Tolutau Koula, and Toafofoa Sipley reportedly objected to wearing the jersey due to religious beliefs.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Hasler confirmed those seven players would not play in Thursday’s game at 4 Pines Park in Brookvale, where the Sea Eagles will become the first NRL club to wear an LGBTQIA jersey.

“We are here today to apologize for a significant mistake made by the Manly Sea Eagles football club,” he said.

“The intent of the t-shirt was to support advocacy and human rights related to gender, race, culture, ability, and LGBTQ movements.

“Unfortunately, the execution of what was intended to be an extremely important initiative was poor. There was little consultation or collaboration between key stakeholders, both inside and outside the club.

“Our intention was to be supportive and compassionate to all the diverse groups that face inclusion issues on a daily basis. However, instead of improving tolerance and acceptance, we may have prevented them. This was the opposite of our intention.

“This mismanagement has caused a lot of confusion, discomfort and pain for many people.

“We wish to apologize to the LGBTQ community that adopts the color of the rainbow for pride, defense and human rights. We accept your cultural beliefs and hope you can accept our apologies.

Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler.  AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts
Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

“We wish to apologize to the Australian Rugby League Commission, the NRL and the other 15 NRL clubs for creating negative news, diverting attention from the launch of the Women’s round of the League.

“We wish to apologize to our own gaming group and staff for any confusion, inconvenience and pain caused by our mistake.

“There will always be subsets of society that have cultural and religious views, and they should always be considered.

“None of the coaching staff or the players had prior knowledge of the shirt. They are not wearing the shirt because it conflicts with their cultural and religious beliefs, and I am concerned about their well-being. Your spirituality is a central part of your well-being. The club has made a mistake that it will learn from.

“The (seven) players will not play on Thursday and we accept their decision. These young people are strong in their beliefs and convictions, and we will give them the space and support they need.

“While we have come a long way as a society, there is still much work to be done, particularly in education.

“For anyone struggling with identity, we recognize the challenges and difficulties. My heart goes out to you and your families, and if the club can personally do something to help, we will. We are here, we offer all our support.

“I apologize to anyone for whom this matter has caused distress.”

Sea Eagles captain Daly Cherry-Evans stated that the playing group was united despite the drama off the field.

“The situation we’re in right now, unfortunately we’re not going to make everyone happy,” he said.

“Like many things in life, we can’t make everyone happy, so I tried to make it very clear that as a person you have a right to your own actions and with those actions come consequences and repercussions and we just have to make sure if any of these things happen. gets out of control, we will be there to support our teammates in their decisions.

“Sometimes the hardest situation in sports is trying to deal with situations that are sometimes out of your control, but one thing that you can control as a playing group is accepting the decision that some players have made in trying to find a positive side in all this. .

“There will be 17 players celebrating inclusion and diversity, so hopefully we can start to shift our attention to the good intentions that were meant.”

Warriors prop Addin Fonua-Blake, who previously represented Manly for five years, said he respected the players’ decision to boycott the Round 20 contest.

“To each their own, I guess,” he said.

“I know there are many cultural and religious (reasons) that go into your decision. I have nothing but respect for the boys.

“The NRL is very diverse. There are many different religions and each one has its own beliefs. Whatever they want to do, follow their beliefs, then full respect to them, and the guys that go and wear the jersey, I’m sure they’ll do a good job for Manly too.”

Earlier on Tuesday, ARLC chairman Peter V’landys argued that Manly footballers had every right not to play.

“The game prides itself on treating everyone as a human being, regardless of race, color, or sexual orientation,” he told 2GB.

“We are all human beings at the end of the day.

“Rugby league is the best game for everyone. it is inclusive.

“But at the same time you have to respect people’s religious and cultural beliefs. Those players are taking a position and they have every right to do so, they have the freedom to do so.

“It should have been done collaboratively. I am the first person who does not want sports to be politicized because we play sports to escape the problems of everyday life. So we don’t want to have politics involved. But this is not politics, recognizing and respecting other human beings and being inclusive, I don’t think it’s politics.

“We respect everyone. No matter what your sexual orientation is, what your belief in marriage is, what your race is, what your color is, we respect you as a human being. The policy of the game has been that for many years and it will not change.”

Sean Keppie, Kieran Foran and Reuben Garrick from Manly in the Sea Eagle's Pride T-shirt.  Photo: Manly Digital
Sean Keppie, Kieran Foran and Reuben Garrick from Manly in the Sea Eagle’s Pride T-shirt. Photo: Manly Digital

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was asked if he had a message for the country’s religious communities after the Manly saga.

“That I respect people of faith,” he said.

“That all people, regardless of their faith, should be respected. That’s something I’ve always done. And something my government will do as well.

“We will address the issues of religious discrimination and the need to legislate there. We will do it during the legislature.

“We will do it in a way that is much more consultative and brings people together in a way that I hope will characterize the way my government works.”

Meanwhile, the club’s historic jersey celebrating inclusion sold out in the online men’s section within hours of the seven stars officially retiring.


Nic is a passionate sports reporter and cricket addict. He completed a Bachelor of Media at the University of New South Wales in 2018 and worked as a digital content creator at Fox Sports for several months… Read More

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